Blind man will use high tech camera, app to experience color, flavor of Bolder Boulder

Posted at 7:26 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 21:26:23-04

DENVER -- Tens of thousands of people will run, jog, walk or ride a wheelchair in the Bolder Boulder. The Memorial Day 10-K is more than a race, it’s an experience. One that more than 20 blind or vision-impaired people will take part in.

One of them, Kevan Worley, will be using some high-tech glasses and a special app to experience the color of the event.

This will be the third time he’s participated, but the first using the high tech equipment.

“I’m totally blind,” he told Denver7, while activating the “Aira” app on his cell phone.

The glasses, outfitted with a miniature camera, connect via Aira to an agent in California.

The agent will verbalize what the camera is seeing.

Worley demonstrated how it will work during an interview on Wednesday at Washington Park.

Using his white cane, Worley started walking on the grass and told the agent he wanted to make his way toward the bike path.

She gave him instructions to move forward and told him he’d be “walking through trees, on the left and the right.”

He repeated the agent’s words.

“Stroller in front of me, hello, a little more to the right.”

Worley, a CEO, says he uses Aira to help sign documents at work, and to pick out the right color of tie.

He said he can’t wait to use it during the Bolder Boulder, to experience the “flavor” that sighted participants take for granted.

“(The agent) will be able to say, ‘by the way, they’re giving out bacon on the right side.  They’re doing Jello-shots on the left, and there’s a slip and slide over there,” he said. “And that crazy person is playing a guitar.”

That’s information he’s never had access to before.

Blind woman running fourth time

Worley’s friend, Jessica Beecham, is also taking part in the Bolder Boulder. This will be her fourth race.

“I’m an ultra-runner, training for my first 50-mile race,” she told Denver7.

Beecham won’t be using the high tech Airy app, she’ll be using a Guide.

“Being able to line up at the start line with 50,000 other runners is such a powerful experience,” she said. “We want to be able to challenge ourselves to do something outside the box.”

Her goal is to improve on her time.

“I think this year will be my fastest yet,” she said.

Both Colorado Springs residents say blind people are twice as likely to be obese and to lead sedentary lives.

They say the United States Association of Blind Athletes, Anthem Foundation and We Fit Wellness are encouraging blind athletes to be active, and to take part in races.

Worley said his special glasses and the Aira app will make the experience much more fun.

“I’m looking forward to the Bolder Boulder,” he said. “It’s always fun. It’s a hoot. It’s a trip.”