Mar 30, 2012 10:17AM
● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana
Folsom resident Richard Hunter was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps when he got the news that changed his life forever.
A routine medical checkup revealed he suffered from a rare genetic disorder, retinitis pigmentosa (RP) – a disease that impairs vision and can eventually lead to blindness. After his discharge from the Marines, Hunter decided to turn his disability into an advantage, getting his master’s degree and working as a school psychologist with an emphasis in helping children with special needs. When his visual impairment forced him into an early retirement, he began running marathons and triathlons, and in November of last year he competed in his first Ironman – swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles…all in under 12 hours.
Hunter attributes his success to the involvement of guides for the visually impaired, and now works tirelessly to bring together guides and visually impaired athletes all over the U.S. and Canada. As a strong advocate for visually impaired endurance athletes, he was instrumental in opening the California International Marathon to the visually impaired. Yet Hunter’s primary motivation is to be a positive role model for his three daughters. He explains, “I want to show my children . . . that you can still set ambitious goals in the face of adversity.”
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