At 60 years old, despite losing her vision, Judy Potter is competing in a triathalon

(WTNH)–People normally set goals when they hit a birthday. For 60-year-old Judy Potter, it was finishing a triathalon.

Her birthday was in Januray, and she trains at the YMCA in Westbrook for the upcoming September race.
That would be astounding enough, but there’s something else that makes this feat even more admirable.

Judy is losing her sight.

“There was a haze in the air and we went back to the doctor, and they said it was RP, which does lead to total blindness.”

RP, retinitis pigmentosa, is slowly taking her vision. Potter says she’s been legeally blind since she was 8 years old. Still, she could ride bikes, hike, and swim.

“I used to go for 40 mile bike rides by myself, and people never knew where I was. That was before cell phones, and I just loved it.”

At 50 when her vision really started going, it was hard to take.

“I was really mad, because I hated losing my color. I love color, I used to take pictures. So I guess I was trying to learn new hobbies, and new ways to enjoy life without some of the things I always cherished.”

Things like being outdoors, or working with kids. Judy was a school teacher for over 30 years. After age 50, she wanted to stay close to what she loved.

“I often did this theatre with the children over the years, and I thought well maybe I can do that with my business. Preschool theatre. So thats what I do I bring my guitar we tell a story we act it out.”

She also wanted to get out and be active again. She found Achilles at a convention for the blind.

“They were the first ones that said they would take me out walking and hiking, and so I did about four or five 5Ks with them for the first couple of years and then the girl who walked with me a lot asked me if I’d ever want to try a triathalon and I said, ‘Oh my gosh yes.'”

She’s been training for the triathalon since September, swiming a half mile three times a week and walking four miles a day.

“When I turned 60 I wanted that to be my thing for this year, that I just finished it. I’m not competing but I would just love to be able to finish it.”

It’s not easy, and Judy says it can sometimes be frightening.

“It’s scary a lot of the time when I know where I’m going and if I do it once with somebody I’m good. But trying to go to a new place with somebody it’s really kind of scary thats probably the scariest thing.”

But just like getting back to the kids, she finds a way.

“It’s going to be awesome, I’m going to feel like I’ve had a chance to do something again that I really thought was kind of lost. It’s going to feel awesome.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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