Blind marathoner Charlie Plaskon recently ran in the Kiawah Island Golf Resort Marathon. While in the Charleston area, this blind athlete/motovational speaker, visited the St. John’s High School to speak to the students. It was called by the facalty “one of the best assembiles they’ve received. Above is a video of his appearance.
Mr. Plaskon was born in 1943 and is the grandfather of four. In the first grade he was diagnosed with a degenerative macular disease called Stargardt’s. At that time he had no central vision and limited peripheral vision. His peripheral vision has now also deteriorated to the extent that doctors rate his vision at 20:950. He has been legally blind all of his life. Charlie never let his lack of sight stop him. With the support of family, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Newark State College in New Jersey, his first Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland at College Park, and his second Master’s Degree from Hofstra University on Long Island. He married, raised three children, and after 32 successful years in the classroom at Copiague Middle School on Long Island, he retired to Florida in 1999. Several months into retirement, Charlie picked up a new challenge – running. In a short time he was running half marathons, quickly followed by full marathons. After three years of success at this sport, including completing three marathons in three weeks in Europe, he turned to a new endeavor – triathlons – adding swimming and biking to the challenge. Since 2003, he has completed numerous half Ironman and full Ironman events, including the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October, 2007. He has several Olympic distance triathlons to his credit including the ITU World Championship representing the United States as part of Team USA in Laussane, Switzerland in 2006. He has been featured in two Ironman documentaries carried nationally on NBC and the Outdoor Life Network. His life story is also featured in the documentary, Victory Over Darkness, which was shown at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis and the Sedona Film Festival. He continues with his vigorous training and racing schedule, but again has added another major focus which is to motivate the visually impaired and blind as well as the sighted to a wealth of possibilities.