Meet the Guatemalan-American Who Won First Place in Blind Division at Boston Marathon

Lead Photo: Instagram: irwinr12
Instagram: irwinr12

To run a marathon of any kind takes the highest levels of endurance and mental strength, so imagine what it would take to run a race as demanding as the Boston Marathon. Now, imagine doing it with physical challenges other runners didn’t have to face. That’s exactly what Irwin Ramirez did when he competed in the 128th official edition of the Boston Marathon on Monday (June 15).

Ramirez, whose roots are from Guatemala, won first place in the marathon’s T11/Blind Division. He finished the race with a time of 3:24:21.


“Incredible weekend and dream come true,” Ramirez wrote on his Instagram account alongside a photo of himself receiving a trophy for his victory. “First place in the T11/Blind Division.”

To compete in the race, Ramirez runs alongside a guide. They are tethered together by a small cord around their fingers. According to the Boston Athletic Association, a guide runner is a person who “provides verbal cues and navigation support on the marathon course to an athlete who has a vision impairment.”

“Running for me means a different level of freedom and throughout the years it has helped me cope through adversities,” Ramirez said in a past interview.

Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, Ramirez works as a product development support specialist with National Industries for the Blind. Running is not Ramirez’s only athletic passion. He is also a cyclist. In 2021, he competed in a bike and running duathlon event in New York City. He’s even tried a triathlon, which incorporates swimming, too.

“I am … proud to represent my Latino and Guatemalan background,” Ramirez said. “There are not many blind triathletes in the sport, and my goal is to make it to the Paralympic Games in Los Angeles in 2028.”

In addition to Irwin Ramirez and his win, Brazilian runner Livea Pereira finished second in the women’s T11/Blind division.