Running Vision

On you can find out all about me, my history, my eye condition, my career performances and personal goals. You can also follow my training progress as I build up to the next major event which is the Beijing Paralympic Games in September of this year.

Monday, June 15, 2009


It was a huge honour to be named the New Zealand Team Captain for the Beijing Paralympics. The experience was amazing, running infront of 90,000 people at the Bird's Nest is something I will never forget.

Unfortunately the results didn't go to plan as I finished out of the medals in all 3 of my races. The results were as follows:

T13, 5000m 4th place
T13, 1500m 5th place
T13, 800m 6th place

Having had some time to reflect on this performance I am now refocussing towards the games in London 2012, but first I have an exciting summer season ahead in 2009.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Only 20 weeks to go now until the Beijing Paralympic Games! With the schedule now released I plan to run 3 events - 5000m, 1500, 800m. However it is going to be an uphill challenge on the road to Beijing.

Eight weeks ago I found out that I have a stress fracture in my left shin, this has meant no running for 7 weeks and I am now only able to run 15mins on grass. A combination of swimming and cycling has kept me in relatively good shape but this is certainly not the ideal build up.

Over the next few weeks I will keep you posted on my progress as the biggest event in four years gets closer.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


July 11 1500m 3.55.16 10th A Grade BMC Gold Standard Watford
July 15 1500m 3.54.85 13th B Grade Gent, Belgium
July 21 3000m 8.32.31 24th A Grade BMC Grand Prix Solihul
Aug 2 5000m 15.48.43 1st IBSA World Champs, Brazil
Aug 5 1500m 4.05.92 2nd IBSA World Champs, Brazil
Aug 22 1500m BMC Regional Meet London
Aug 25 5000m BMC Grand Prix, London
Sept 5 1500m BMC Gold Standard, Watford


June 10 800m 1.54.44 6th D Grade BMC Grand Prix, London
June 14 1500m 3.54.20 3rd A Grade BMC Gold Standard, London
June 24 5000m 14.56.59 14th B Grade BMC Grand Prix, London
July 14 800m 1.58.10 8th D Grade Flanders Cup, Belgium
July 16 1500m 3.51.82 6th D Grade Flanders Cup, Belgium
July 22 1500m 3.54.65 3rd D Grade Flanders Cup, Belgium
July 26 1500m 1.54.90 2nd C Grade BMC Gold Standard, London
July 29 3000m 8.29.10 1st B Grade BMC Grand Prix, Cardiff Wales
Aug 16 800m 1.56.2 2nd A Grade BMC Regional Meet, South East London
Aug 23 1500m 3.52.99 9th A Grade BMC Gold Standard, London
Sept 3 1500m 4.10.25 2nd IPC Worlds, Holland
Sept 5 800m 1.56.15 2nd IPC Worlds, Holland

Monday, July 31, 2006


Thursday July 26

Brazil Here I Come!

Today I leave for Brazil so don’t be alarmed if there is no update for a day or two. I will try and get some details through to my wonderful wife Lisa who will hopefully put some stuff up as it happens.

Today I ran a 600 400 and 300 at about 85 percent. My 600 was run in 1.26 with eight minutes recovery then a 55 second 400 followed by a 300 in 43. The weather was cool and windy and the legs struggled to really get going in the early morning cool air. However once again the lungs felt good and I am feeling pretty good and confident going into next weeks world champs.

The Stats

Km’s Run:
Weather: Cool breezy and 16
On this Day: This time a year ago I ran a 1.54.90 finishing 2nd in a lower grade BMC meet in Watford London.

Wednesday July 25

Easy Day In Hyde Park

Today’s training was nice and cruisy with an easy 44 minute run featuring a lap of the four mile Hyde Park in 25.34. Although the legs were still a little tight my pace reflected the good aerobic shape I am in. Will be interesting to see how I fare tomorrow with the track workout.

The Stats

Km’s run:
Weather: Coudy bit of rain 17 degrees
On this Day: In 2005 Nick Buck my training partner and I muscled out 10 by 2 minutes on a muddy Prince of Wales Park in Newtown during a mid week lunch hour. Good stuff!

Tuesday July 24

Sun In London, with Attitude!

Today the sun has been shining and it assisted in affording me the luxury of having a nice easy 40 minute jog through Regent’s Park and the surrounding suberb of St Johns Wood. It was lovely! This was followed later in the afternoon by a nice relaxing 5k jog with Lisa once again through Regents Park.

This morning the TVNZ show Attitude paid Lisa and I a visit and did a bit of a story on life in London and in particular my new job as an Athlete Mentor. Good stuff!

The Stats

Km’s run:
Weather: Fine sunny bit of a breeze 22 degrees.
On this day: It was this time three years ago in 2004 where I opened my Athens campaign with a 1.57 800m effort at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast. Heading out in 27 for the first 200 I tied up quite a bit in the second lap.

Monday July 23

Blog Up and Running Again!

Today I did some speed work at Paddington Recreation ground. This consisted of 15 minutes warm up followed by some drills and 3 X 80 and 3 X 120s. The legs didn’t feel that quick. However a massage this afternoon has loosened them up nicely and I am looking forward to having a couple of easy days before a workout on Thursday before I leave for Brazil.

The Stats

Km’s run:
Weather: Cool and overcast 17 degrees.
On this Day: A whooping training load on this day in 2005. The middle of winter and a cool Saturday morning 7.15am Nick Buck, Ben Revell and myself did 10 by 1200m cross country intervals at a park in Khandallah. Averaging 4.12 per rep with two minutes recovery the session totaled 17km. This was backed up with an easy half hour in the afternoon.

The last three Weeks!

Well I have not been too methodical in my recording of the training diary over the last three weeks so I will now give you a quick run down and a glimpse of the highlights from the last three weeks.

July 5:

Had a great 5 by 1k session with 60 seconds between each rep I hammered out 2.58 2.58 2.57 2.56 and 2.51 and felt great throughout

July 8:
I did a tempo of 2 mile (8 laps) in 10.07 followed by four 200s in 27/28 but felt pretty good.

July 11:
I had my first race a 1500 BMC event in Watford, north of London. I was aiming to get a solid run in as it was the first track race for over four months. I ran 3.55.16 to finish around 10th in a field of 17, my splits were solid 62, 63, 63 and finished in 47 for the last 300 so a five out of ten pass mark.

July 15: Lisa and I traveled to Belgium for the meet in Gent. It was a beautifully warm day in Gent and I ran in the B string 1500. It was the same meet that I broke the World record in last year. However the same result wasn’t forth coming. I ran 3.54.85 which was a slight improvement on Wednesday so things are starting to head in the right direction.

July 21: Raced a 3k in Birmingham. My time was 8.32.31 which was three seconds off my best. I headed out quick and at 2k was on track for a good solid personal best. However it was not to be and a faded quite a bit down the stretch. I was originally entered in the B race but after taking six hours to get to the track (should of taken two!) due to the flooding and train delays I was granted entry into the A race.

Wednesday July 4

Prendo Back In Action

Almost ten months to day since I last logged an entry into the Running Vision blog I am back! It has been an interesting and eventful last ten months to say the least. The focus of the site is on my running and that has progressed soundly throughout the period but also in my personal life I have evolved and am now a married man. I married my partner Lisa at the end of March in Wellington in what was a fantastic and memorable occasion.

I now find myself in London. I have been given the opportunity to work for a Sport England funded initiative called Respect Athlete Mentor Programme. I will be an Athlete Mentor to around ten groups of young people over the next nine months which is an extremely exciting prospect. At this stage I am just going through the training and planning stages but come August/September I anticipate things to get pretty busy.

Running is going soundly. The summer ended with a five out of ten pass mark. I finished 7th at Nationals over 1500m and my season best was 3.52 which I did twice. No PB’s so a little frustrating from time to time. Since March and the end of the summer season I have had a break, got back into base build up, had a couple of niggles and illness as well as moved. This has been intertwined with two cross country races back in New Zealand with mixed results.

After three weeks in London I feel settled and the comfy start to the job means I am able to focus quite intently on training which is good. Last week I was struck down with a nasty stomach bug but I have been back up and going for the last week now and am starting to feel myself regaining some much needed form.

I will continue with my daily updates although they may only be logged every few days. I am off to Brazil at the end of the month for the IBSA World champs where I am running the 1500 and 5000 so there maybe a couple of weeks without the blog but we will see how easy it is to access the net over there.

So back to normal transition!!

Today I have had a nice speed day which involved a 16 minute warm up to Paddington rec ground a warm up and some drills followed by 10 by 50 metre strides/sprints. I was going to do some bounding and hops however with the rain pouring down this was not possible as the field was soaked and the track slippery. The weather has been a nightmare here since we arrived. It has rained everyday at some stage since we came here on June 13, awful!!

The days training was completed with a nice jog around parts of Regents Park with my wife Lisa.

The Stats

Kms run:
Weather: Mainly mild but a few heavy showers 20 degrees
On this day: Today I cast my mind back to 2004 when in my build up to the Athens Paralympic Games I struggled through a 5 by 300 metre work out on a muddy bottom field at Wellington College.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Hi there, my name is Tim Prendergast and I am a vision impaired athlete from New Zealand. In 1987 at the age of eight I was diagnosed with an eye condition called Stagardts which robbed me of all of my central vision. I am now left with just 5% vision but this has not stopped me wanting to strive for the achieve the best results on the track. In 2004 I won the Gold medal at the Athens Paralympic Games over 800 metres for vision impaired (T13) athletes. In 2002 I won the Gold medal at the World championships in the same event. In New Zealand I compete against regular fully sighted athletes and finshed 6th at this years National Track & Field Champs over 1500 metres.


I was born in Taupo, New Zealand on 1 March 1979 and am the youngest of three children. After a couple of years my family moved to a small South Island town called Timaru. At the age of 8 my family moved to Wellington which I still consider to be my home today. It was in 1987 that I first started losing my sight. Soon cricket became difficult to play, writing became tougher as I could not see what I was writing and reading became impossible without significant magnification. Running however was still possible and I joined the local Kapiti Harrier club with my father and sister. In 1992 I started at Wellington College and met my coach Neville Paul who then was managing the Cross Country and Athletics teams. As part of both the Cross Country and Athletics team I began instilling some key principals of middle distance running and improved my performance accordingly. In my last year at school I was selected as the first non-travelling reserve for the New Zealand team at the Atlanta Paralympics. From 1997-2000 I attended Victoria University and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.

During this time my athletic performances were steadily improving until a stress fracture in early 2000 ruled me out of running for almost five months. The road back to fitness was swift and I was lucky enough with some great support from my physio and training partner Ben Ruthe I was able to make the start line for the 800 and 1500 metres at the Sydney Paralympic Games. The two Silver medals that I won at the Games were undoubtably the highlight of my career to date but it was a bitter sweet feeling as I was made aware of another stress fracture in the opposite foot to the previous one just days before my final race. Following the celebrations of two Silver medals I was put into cast for six weeks and forced to take another four months off running. Struggling with frustrations of two major injuries and finding it difficult to get motivated for other events my running career had hit a rough patch. A new full time job with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind coupled with long time training partner Ben Ruthe moving to Auckland made for a tough 2001. Despite this my work with Sport Wellington, speaking to various community groups and schools served to help ignite a flame that was dwindling.

In late 2001 my passion for the sport returned as Nev had a strong squad of eight athletes including Ben who had returned from Auckland to be part of the ‘Flying Kiwi’ squad. The 2001/02 season was one of break throughs with my 1500 metre time being lowered by four seconds. This lead nicely into the IPC World Championships in France, in July of 2002, where I claimed my first ever World title over 800 metres. My win was over the previously unbeaten Tunisian Maher Bouallegue. By 2004 my life was going great I had confidence in my running, I had a settled relationship with my now fiancé Lisa, and my job at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind was going well. On September 26 of that year I experienced what is to date the highlight of my running career winning the Gold medal over 800 metres at the Paralympic Games.

For the eighteen months between the Athens Games and April 2006 I continued working at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind as the Recreation Advisor, I continued my running and came to the decision along with my fiancé that the UK would be the best place to come for six months to experience Europe and the United Kingdom, to enhance my running career with increased racing opportunities over the Northern summer.


I have been running competitively for almost 20 years and for that amount of time I have kept a note of my personal best times. Perhaps you can compare where you are compared to where I was at your age.

Personal Best times as of 1st August 2006

Distance: Time: Year:
60m - 7.3sec HT (1999)
100m - 11.69 (1999)
200m - 23.67 (1999)
400m - 50.96 (1999)
800m - 1.53.23 (2002)
1000m - 2.28.5 HT (2006)
1500m - 3.51.82 (2006)
Mile - 4.14.27 (2004)
2000m - 5.30.6 HT (1999)
3000m - 8.29.10 (2006)
5000m - 14.56.59 (2006)
10000m - 32.46 (on road - 2005)
Half marathon - 75.14 (2005)

800/1500 Personal Best times by age

Age: 800: 1500:
11 2.58; 6.15
12 2.47; 5.58
13 2.38; 5.15
14 2.17; 4.37
15 2.04; 4.23
16 1.59.09; 4.09.73
17 1.59.09; 4.03.71
18 1.57.98; 4.03.71
19 1.53.45; 4.01.12
20 1.53.45; 3.57.80
21 1.53.45; 3.57.80
22 1.53.23; 3.57.80
23 1.53.23; 3.53.82
24 1.53.23; 3.52.83
25 1.53.23; 3.52.83
26 1.53.23; 3.52.83
27 1.53.23; 3.51.82


When I was eight years old I loved my cricket and my toy cars. I dreamed of being a New Zealand cricketer driving around in my late model Italian car. However my dreams were ripped into taters as I was given the news that I had a fairly rear eye condition called Stagardts.

Stargardts is a genetic eye condition that effects the central part of the eye. The on set usually happens in the years between age 7-12, for me it was eight. The condition takes around ten years to completely degenerate and for once the damage was fully done I was left with a visual acuity of 3/60 which means what a fully sighted person sees from 60 metres away I have to be three metres away to see it. My peripheral vision has remained in tact but as central part of the eye is responsible for a lot of the fine tuning, the vision I do have is fairly vague.

When I look straight ahead I see what can only be described as a big ball of fuzzy dots. When I look at someone it always looks like I am looking slightly to the left or the right of them. Not seeing detail means reading and writing without significant magnification.

My eyes take significantly longer than fully functioning eyes, to adjust to dark or light conditions. Although night blindness isn’t an outcome of Stagardt’s it does still take a while for my eyes to adjust to a dark environment after coming from a brighter one.

How does this affect your running?

When I train alone I have to rely heavily on my other senses. Over almost 20 years of running over 35,000 kilometres I have encountered many difficult situations including, crashing into road works, old ladies, grey fences, gutters and ditches. Fortunately I concentrate really hard when I run so despite only having five percent vision I can often make up for this by memorizing routes, and taking note with my peripheral vision of my surroundings.

On the track when I race it can often be difficult tactically. Running around a track is fine I have done it a lot so know what to expect. However every race is different and a tight bunch situation can sometimes be difficult to cope with as perceiving the distance to the next runner is difficult and also sensing the key break in the race is tough. I don’t like to lead from the front, or run out wide or to the back, but unfortunately my tactics are often limited to this.

What do you use to read and write?

If you see me walking on the street you may not be immediately aware that I have an impairment. I do not carry an orientation cane nor do I wear glasses. The reasons for this is that glasses do not help my condition and I believe I am able to get around without a cane even if some may disagree.

When it comes to reading and writing however I do need some special assistance. Since I was ten years old I have used a CCTV magnifying screen. The one I am currently using is called an Aladin CCTIV (Closed Circuit Television) which consists of a 14” TV screen placed three inches above a tray where the paper sits. Below the TV screen is a camera which sits above the paper and enlarges it onto the screen where the writing comes up 14-16 times the size. I can also write under this device.

On the computer I use a programme called Zoom Text which enlarges everything that appears on the computer screen. This enables me to surf the internet and use all relevant computer programmes.

Both the CCTV and computer were very important in completing my University Degree.