Home > Blog

Interview with Prehab Ambassador and Guide Runner: Jerome Avery

From Left to Right: Lex Gillette, Alex Gometz, Jerome Avery

From Left to Right: Lex Gillette, Dr. Alex Gometz, Jerome Avery

Leading up to the Paralympics World Championships for Track and Field in Paris next month (July 8-17, 2023), The US Paralympics Track and Field National Championships were held last week in Chula Vista, California just outside of San Diego.

We caught up with our Prehab Ambassador, Jerome Avery who was a guide runner for one of the world-renowned athletes in the competition. We were excited to grab Jerome for a few minutes and learn about his journey as a competitive runner and most recently as a professional guide.  Take a guess at how many professional guide runners there are in the United States that are dedicated to para-sprint runners. Find out the answer below in our (edited) conversation. You might be surprised! As well, discover why Jerome dedicates his time to help other athletes who share his passion for running competitively.

Q&A With Jerome Avery:

Q: How did you get into running and being a guide?

Jerome: I came up short at an Olympic trial. It was my dream to be an Olympian – 100 meter sprinter. 2004 was my biggest year. I made it to the semi-finals and I got knocked out.  I asked myself: Do I train another 4 years or do something else?  They were looking for guide runners for the US Paralympic team. I jumped at the opportunity even though I had never been around anyone who was blind. I got offered a free trip to Greece! The first person I met was Lex Gillette. We immediately hit it off.  I’m the grandfather of guide running. 

My life experiences allowed me to be a great guide runner. I had support from my parents. My father was in the military and my mom worked for the government. My mother wanted to talk to anyone and everyone and my father was a track coach. Helping kids is what I grew up around.  We were stationed at a military base near Fresno.

Q: When did guide running start?

Jerome: Paralympics started in 1960. Guide runners existed primarily for distance runners, marathon runners. (They wore the orange vests.) But sprinting guides are fairly new. About 30 years or so.  More athletes are interested in sprints.  There is a growing need for elite athletes, post-collegiate to support the para-athletes.

Q: How many guide runners for sprinters are there in the US?

Jerome: There are only FIVE – on the elite level. There is a need for more. But more funding is needed for guide runners. Takes time and expertise.

Q: Where does the funding come from?

Jerome: Funding is from US Olympic and Para Olympic Committee – nonprofit. is the link to donate.

Q: What do people need to know about this subject?

Jerome: There are so many different types of disabilities in the world of Paralympics. There are differences between Quads and people that have more functional movement. Upper or lower or whether they are in a chair. Dwarfs are competing.  Leg amputees above and below the knee. Cerebral palsy, highly functioning autism.  The Paralympics community is full of amazing athletes overcoming obstacles and competing at the highest level in their respective sport.

Q: What do you like most about running and being a guide runner?

Jerome: I love knowing the importance that my own sight is used to help someone else. I have a purpose. I never thought I could use my sight to help someone else reach their dreams.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add about running?

Jerome: Prehab has helped me stay on the right track. I had chronic plantar fascia before Tokyo and I got right back on track. I highly recommend for every runner!

To find out more about who will be representing Team USA in the Paralympics World Championships Track and Field in Paris next month, click here. (Hint: Lex Gillette, along with guide runner Jerome Avery, will be there!) Also follow Jerome Avery (@_jeromeavery_) and Lex Gillette (@lexgillette) on Instagram. Congratulations and good luck!!

Check out more Prehab Blog Posts and sign up for our newsletter so you can engage with our community, find out about events, discounts and more!