Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Man becomes 1st person to complete New York City Half Marathon supported by guide dogs

With the support of Gus, Waffle, and Westley, Thomas Panek made history as he crossed the finish line at the New York City Half Marathon on Sunday.

Panek is blind, and instead of using human guides during the race, he relied on three guide dogs. This was the first time a visually-impaired runner completed the race supported by canines. "It never made sense to me to walk out the door and leave my guide dog behind when I love to run and they love to run," Panek, president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, told CNN. "It was just a matter of bucking conventional wisdom and saying why not."

Gus is Panek's longtime guide dog, and Waffle and Westley are siblings undergoing guide dog training. They spent months preparing for the race, and on Sunday, the dogs were outfitted with special harnesses and booties to protect their paws. Each Labrador took a turn running 3.1 miles with Panek, who finished the race in two hours and 21 minutes. Gus' duties as a guide dog officially ended once he crossed the finish line, and he is now retired. It was "emotional," Panek said, as Gus has "been there with me the whole time."