Race #28 – Running for Special Olympics

My virtual Beaver Stadium Run in Mechanicsburg PA

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

Special Olympics Motto

Race #28 – The Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run 5K

The Cause – Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020

Loretta Claiborne is one of the greatest athletes I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. In fact she may be one of the greatest athletes and greatest runners you’ve never heard of.

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to meet and write about her. Not only is she one of the most decorated Special Olympians, but she is also from Central Pennsylvania–York to be exact. To date, she has finished 26 marathons, and she earned seven running-related Special Olympics medals. If that’s not remarkable enough, consider this: She didn’t walk or talk until the age of 4. Here’s a link to the story I wrote for TheBurg, last year.

None of the virtual races we complete during this time of social distancing can compare to the real experiences we would have had at the actual races–especially this one! The actual race experience at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium would have been awesome. This race has been on my bucket list for a long time!

That aside, all of the nonprofits taking the time to convert their races into virtual experiences truly need and appreciate the support and funding, including today’s cause, Special Olympics of Pennsylvania (SOPA). Just as Loretta Claiborne told me, sports transformed her life. Today SOPA trains and transforms the lives of 20,000 athletes!

At 11 a.m. this morning, the Beaver Stadium Run launched virtually with a race ceremony on YouTube–how cool! Nearly 2,000 runners and walkers were signed up for the race, raising more than $330,000.

Tuning into the pre-race YouTube festivities hosted by Steve Jones of the Penn State Sports Network

And I want to give a shout out to another great race originally schedule for this date. I had actually planned on doing the Valley Forge Revolutionary Run 5-Miler in my hometown with two of my high school girlfriends–and it would have marked the first time we had run together since our high school track days. But it was outright canceled, which left me free to do the Beaver Stadium Run virtually, instead. It was a gorgeous Sunday for a 5K around my neighborhood in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Every day is a gift. And what a gift, to give back to the inspiring Special Olympians in our midst like Loretta Claiborne.

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