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Blindness doesn't slow Vergas runner -- He'll join in Water Carnival 10K today

Bruce Stoddard's personal mantra is "live today."

And the 50-year-old from Vergas is quick to point out that he takes the statement very seriously.

He's not talking about living FOR today. Stoddard wants the people he comes in contact with to know they should be living each day of their life to the fullest.

"No matter what your disability is - live today," said Stoddard, who will participate in today's Water Carnival 10-kilometer run in Detroit Lakes despite being completely blind. "Get out and live today."

Stoddard said he was an active runner and hunter before complications from a car accident about three years ago left him blind.

Stoddard had just completed his first half marathon in Fargo the spring before he lost his vision.

Stoddard said he wanted to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the accident.

He wanted to get outside instead of sitting in his living room.

Stoddard's enjoyment of the outdoors led him to Blind Outdoor Adventures, a Colorado group that pairs guides with blind participants for hiking and camping trips.

He also began using a guide to help him continue running.

"I do hear from others who have disabilities and sight issues that they sit at home too much," Stoddard said. "I can't do that."

Stoddard uses a two-foot piece of shoelace to connect him to his running guide. Each person holds an end.

The rest is a matter of trust.

"The hardest part is the trust," Stoddard said. "But that fear or anxiety goes away pretty quickly after you've done it a little bit. You learn that there are a lot of good people out there."

Stoddard will run the Water Carnival race with Kesley Myhre of Detroit Lakes. An avid runner, Myhre said she agreed to be Stoddard's guide to make the race more challenging.

Although she went on just one training run with Stoddard before today's race, Myhre said she is confident there won't be any problems.

"I think it's amazing that he is able to do this and that he's not going to let a disability get in the way of what he loves to do and what he wants to do," Myhre said.

Message received: Live today.