Running for a reason: Special Olympics

Courtesy:  Saraland City School System
Courtesy: Saraland City School System

The Olympic spirit was alive and well in Mobile County Thursday.

A big day of festivities started with a Law Enforcement Torch Run kicking off Thursday morning at Saraland City Hall.

More than a dozen officers from around the area helped carry the Olympic flame and participated in the two and a half mile run, which is a fundraiser for Special Olympics.

 

A CHANGE IN SCHEDULE

Cpl. Arlen Gaines with the Saraland Police Department said, “The weather last week messed everything up, so, we had to touch base with everybody that was scheduled to come and participate.”

One of the organizers, and participants, Officer Josh Coleman with the Gulf Shores Police Department, said, “Myself ,personally, I just enjoy creating awareness for the kids and allowing them to get to interact with us.”

From Saraland City Hall, the torch runners travelled to Saraland High School Stadium, where the games began.

 

CARRYING THE TORCH

The festivities started with the March of the Athletes. then, the 46 students from Saraland, Satsuma, and Chickasaw met the law enforcement officers carrying the Olympic torch.

Barbara English, Saraland Special Education Coordinator, said, “The torch runners, the law enforcement officers, will come and do their torch run picking up an athlete every quarter of the field.”

One of the athletes, Lauren Bergeron, said, “I was running with the guys.  It was cool.”

English said the students were “so excited this week because they are out there on  the field showing their athletic ability, where, the typical football player and cheerleader, are going to be sitting in the stands cheering them on.”

 

PLENTY OF SUPPORT

Athletes like Timberly have their teachers cheering them on.

Teacher Erin Pugh said, “Timberly and all of my kids, they’re my heart.”

Julia Charles was running, too, and her parents thinks that’s a miracle.

Julia’s mother, Rebecca, said,”She had to have both her feet operated on.  All the bones broke and re-set, and, she developed a rare tumor, inside of the bottom of both feet, and they had to cut them out, but, the tumors come back, about the size of a golf ball.”

When asked what she was thinking about while running, Julia said, “Mom and dad.”

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

The winners go to the Alabama Special Olympics games next month in Troy.

Friday, special athletes from Mobile County Public Schools will be competing at the Saint Paul’s Episcopal School track.

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