How to Use United In Stride

United In Stride is a tool for uniting visually impaired walkers and runners of all levels with guides. Our mission is to support the blind and visually impaired community in realizing their fitness goals.

Creating your account

When creating your account, you will be asked to provide your zip code location as well as your activity preferences and experience with/as a guide.

You must be a United In Stride member to search for and connect with other members through the site.

Sign up here to become a member!

How to use the Find A Partner search and filters

Search for Member Type

Select whether you are searching for Guides, VI Athletes, or Both.

Distance from Zip Code

Use the dropdown to select the radius of your search then enter in the zip code of your desired search area.

Available for Activity

Choose whether you are looking for someone to Walk with, Run with, or Both.

Desired Training Distance (optional)

An optional filter for runners looking for members within a specific pace range.

Desired Training Pace (optional)

An optional filter for runners looking for members able to go a specific distance.

Screenshot of the United In Stride Find A Partner search function.

How to send messages to members

From search results

A Send Message button will be available after the listed names in the search results when using the Find A Partner function.

This will open a popup text box that will close automatically after hitting send!

From member profile

All user’s profiles have a Send A Message button at the top of their page.

This will open a popup text box that will close automatically after hitting send!

From previous messages

By going to the Messages tab on your profile you can view and respond to previous message chains with other members.

New messages cannot be made from this page.

If there aren’t any VI athletes or guides in your area, learn some other ways to reach out on our Building your Network page!

Messaging on United In Stride

Sample message from a visually impaired athlete to a potential guide:

Hello! My name is John Doe and I’m a Visually Impaired runner from Town ABC. I’m currently training for a half marathon and need more running guides.  I’m wondering if you would be willing to run with me once or twice a month on the bike path near my house. I need training partners who can run 9:00 min/mile or faster for runs that range from 4 to 10 miles. No guide experience is necessary, I can train you how to guide me at our first run. Please let me know if you are interested and available!

Sample message from a potential guide to a visually impaired athlete:

Hello, my name is Jane Doe and I am interested in being a walking guide in the Town XYZ area. I am available to walk twice a week on weekdays for up to 3 miles. I am an experienced guide but happy to learn what guiding methods work best for you. Please let me know if you are interested, and what date would work for you for a first outing!

Tips to Get Started

Here are some tips to get you started for when you are planning your walks/runs!

  • Schedule sessions well in advance to get on the calendar. When someone is available to guide or be guided, don’t wait – get them scheduled as soon as possible!
  • Send text reminders ahead of meet-ups when scheduled far in advance.
  • If you are running or walking with a new guide or VI athlete, plan to do a shorter run/walk for the first day and go through basic guide training. Use this time to determine what methods of guiding work best for you. See Guiding 101 for more details.
  • Be flexible with your pacing, and structure your training to match the guide and visually impaired athlete’s ability levels. If a slower guide can only run Wednesdays, plan your easy runs for those days. 
  • For longer runs, if you are unable to find a guide to run the full distance with you, split your run into 2 and have one guide run the first half, and the second guide run the second half. 
  • Safety

    It is recommended that pairs discuss safety procedures and establish clear communication before going on a walk or run together.

  • Don’t put too much personal information on United in Stride. Keep your address private, until you have full confidence in your new running/walking partner.
  • Exchange phone numbers before meeting in person. This will allow you to speak with your partner prior to meeting to discuss guiding techniques, as well as the details of your walk/run. It is also helpful should one party end up running late, or having to cancel last minute.
  • Arrange to meet in a public location the first few times until you have established a sense of trust with your partner. For visually impaired athletes with arranged transportation with a friend or driver, introduce them to your guide if possible.
  • Your runs/walks should follow a specific plan. This includes start time, meeting location, route and completion time. Trust your instincts when it comes to safety. Does your partner listen to what you say or stick to the plan you have established in advance?
  • Share your plans with friends. Tell a friend about the details of your plans, including the time, location, and contact information of your partner.
  • Resources

    Looking for helpful tips on how to communicate and reach out to other members? Or how to safely guide a visually impaired walker or runner? Check out our resource pages and find additional information such as VI race classifications and gear to keep you visible to others.

    UIS Best Practices

    Person wearing a reflective vest holding a bullhorn.

    Building Your Network

    Visually Impaired runner and two guides drinking water during a race.

    Guiding 101

    Blind runner and guide holding a tether.


    Person walking on a treadmill.

    Additional Resources

    United In Stride printed tshirt, running hat, and handheld tether.

    Contact Us

    Reach out to us on our contact page.

    Contact Form