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'Wait Wait' Host Peter Sagal Runs Boston Marathon As Guide08:22

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Peter Sagal, waving, runs next to William Greer around Mile 24 of the 2013 Boston Marathon. This picture was taken roughly 20 minutes before the bombs went off. (Linda McIntosh/Courtesy)
Peter Sagal, waving, runs next to William Greer around Mile 24 of the 2013 Boston Marathon. This picture was taken roughly 20 minutes before the bombs went off. (Linda McIntosh/Courtesy)

You know Peter Sagal as host of NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" but he's also a marathon runner. For the second year in a row, he's running the Boston Marathon with a legally blind athlete, at the invitation of a group called "Team with a Vision."

This year Sagal is running with Erich Manser. Last year, both athletes crossed the finish line minutes before the bombs went off. They speak to Here & Now's Robin Young before the start of the marathon.

Interview Highlights

Peter Sagal on making last year's tragedy secondary to today's race

"I don’t think it’s that hard because for runners, the Boston Marathon is — as everybody knows — the premier event, the amateurs Olympics, right? ... Most years, when most of the world isn't paying that much attention to the Boston Marathon, the running community – it’s our national holiday. ... So for us, last year was this sick anomaly and I think that people wanted to come and run it, not so much to somehow respond to bombing, if you will, but to erase it, to remind everybody by running it this year and next year and next year and to the end of the world that the Boston Marathon bombings have nothing to do with the Boston Marathon. Lets call them something else please."

Erich Manser on running with Sagal

"As you can tell he’s very charismatic and engaging and very deserving of trust — or so he tells me. He's a handsome fellow as well. I've come to know him very well over the last couple of days. And one thing that I've always kind of observed about the blind athlete-guide relationship is that it has a way of fast tracking that comfort level and you basically surrender yourself to them for the duration of this race and so you develop that comfort level and that trust and that communication level and its just a wonderful, wonderful experience."

Erich Manser on what Sagal will help with during the race

"Frost heaves leave a lot of damage out there. I describe what I see now as basically like looking through a cloudy keyhole. You know, if I'm looking straight ahead I can’t see my feet; I've got nothing below or off to the sides. And so the most daunting part of a race for me is very much the beginning where everyone is packed in like sardines, people are jockeying for position and literally from my point of view it's as though people are appearing out of nowhere, if they’re cutting across that field of vision."

Peter Sagal on the rewards of being a marathon guide

"Sometimes you just have to get out there and just help somebody face to face. You know, the Massachusetts Association for the Blind — we had a brunch the other day — and it was there for the marathon team, the runners and the guides, but there are also people there who help blind people shop or read to them or care for their pets or do their laundry or whatever the need is. And you know, those people are doing the same thing I’m doing, they’re just getting a little less attention for it. But it's tremendously important, and I think not just for the people who need the help, but for the people who offer the help. I get to feel good about myself. And let me tell you this, just between you and me Robin. Volunteering? Chicks dig it."


This segment aired on April 21, 2014.

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