For most of us, completing one triathlon is an incomparable achievement, but for three Sunshine Coast blind men, they have their sights set on participating in more.
Darryl Munck, one of the ‘3 Blind Mice’, has clocked up thousands of kilometres around the Sunshine Coast on his road bike for the past eight years and travelled to the most remote locations in Central Australia, including the Simpson Desert.
Darryl’s team mates – Richard and Robin – who share the same eye disease, are the respective swimmer and runner of the trio, but triathlons are not the only recreational activity they have bonded over.
“Robin and I knew each other from way back. A mutual friend and swim teacher introduced us to Richard – who couldn’t swim. After developing a strong friendship, we decided Richard had to be our swimmer,” Darryl said.
Within only six months of learning to swim, Richard had completed his first triathlon at Noosa, in tumultuous surf conditions – only half the field finished the swim.
“We’ve tried Dragon Boat racing. We go to Brisbane to visit museums and cultural centres. The staff and our support workers are brilliant at describing what’s going on around us. Whether it’s visiting a new place or riding a different route, they enrich our life by painting a picture of the world.”
If that’s not enough, Darryl has sky dived and abseiled.
Just Better Care Sunshine Coast Director Tony Sandy has endorsed the NDIS participants, by providing sports attire for training and races.
“The ‘blind rider’ message on the fluro shirt lets people know I’m a blind rider. It’s made a significant difference to how my pilot and I are treated on the road. I feel much safer now,” he said.
The 57-year-old has full praise for Just Better Care Support Coordinator Ruth Carter who has understood the necessity cycling brings to Darryl’s wellbeing.
“Ruth helped organise a new set of wheels for my bike which was extremely important for me. That’s my major go-to for my exercise, mental health and social life.”
“There is too much to keep up with the NDIS for a totally blind person. Ruth takes care of all of that, which makes my life a lot easier.”
Darryl and his mates have no plans on slowing down, with their sights set on hang gliding at Mount Tamborine and axe-throwing.
Above all, it is Darryl’s inspirational outlook on life we can all take something from.
“We just try and live. Be the best you can whatever you wish to pursue. Take a moment to become aware of your senses. For us, pursuing new thrill-seeking activities is all about feel and listening.”