4th-grade student steps up to help blind teen compete in long-distance races

4th-grader Rebel Hays of Fayetteville is a young athlete who doesn’t only love running but also has a big heart for helping people. Currently, he’s helping a blind runner, Paul Scott, so he can compete in cross country races.

As a star athlete at Holcomb Elementary School, Hays decided to step up his game and become a guide runner.

He wanted to keep up with older students and at the same time, help aspiring runners like Scott, who is unfortunately physically challenged.


Using a rope, Hays is able to help Scott run the cross-country crosses. They started with the two-mile stretches but currently, they are doing 5k races. They soon hope to run a 50k course in 20 minutes or less.

Hays practices every day to keep pace with high school students. “If I don’t run this distance, it’s like I’m cheating on Paul. I can’t cheat on Paul so, I have to run this distance, or this time no matter what,” says Hays.

Hays is Scott’s inspiration to run faster. He never lets him down which encourages him more to run faster and not focus on his disability. Scott also admires Hays’ strength as a young athlete and his passion for running.

Despite being visually-impaired, Scott remains hopeful that he can compete in cross-country races with the help of his friend and guide runner. He always goes the extra mile and doesn’t complain regardless of how difficult it is for him.

Scott also dreams to run as fast as he can, just like every runner. However, because of his disability, he would always feel discouraged to run and practice. Things changed when he met Hays.

Usually, it’s hard to find guide runners but Hays didn’t have any second thoughts about helping and guiding him. They both serve as an inspiration to each other and as they practice every day, they don’t only get strong physically but their friendship also grows and gets stronger.

Hays admitted what he’s doing is not easy but it’s all for Scott and he’s never giving up on his friend. “I’ll admit it’s pretty hard, but it’s all for Paul. I have to do it for Paul,” Hays said.

Facebook | Nhi Blansett

Scott’s high school greatly admires his running prowess as well as his willingness to help others at a very young age. The highschool wrote on Facebook, “Rebel is a stud runner, but even more importantly, he has a huge heart.”

The story of Scott and Hays quickly went viral online and gained a lot of positive feedback. Many people were inspired by their story and couldn’t help but praise Hays for his kindness and compassion.

One of the commenters on Twitter wrote, “The heart, soul, and dedication of this young man to his friend are inspiring. Another one said, “Rebel Hays may practice with older kids, but he’s already a man.”

Truly, this young man’s passion, dedication, and compassion are notable. Though he’s still very young, he knows how to help others with his skills and inspire them to be better.

This story also shows that disabilities should never hinder one’s dreams. After all, there are people everywhere willing to lend a hand when needed, just like Rebel Hays.

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