Special Olympics Track and Field preps for exciting events, activities

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

More than 100 special needs kids will be hustling, running and playing at the Bainbridge High School track field Friday, April 1, for the annual Special Olympics Track and Field event.

Decatur County Special Olympics Chairman Wanda Thomas, the board and a host of volunteers are diligently working to have the three-county event ready. Seminole and Miller counties will be joining Decatur for the day of exercise and friendly competition.

“We hope to grow it where more counties come and participate, and maybe we could have it on Saturday instead of on a Friday,” Thomas said.

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Special Olympics sanctioned events will include the 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, the long jump and the softball throw. Participants will rotate between the event stations throughout the day. While waiting between stations, activities like bean bag tossing and Frisbee will keep the participants active.

Bocce ball is an added event this year. A special ball is thrown a certain distance in front of the participants, who try to throw their own balls as close to first ball as possible without touching it.

Though many volunteers come from the community, the majority of them are BHS students. The students that will be helping during the event have to meet certain academic requirements and have experience working with special needs kids.

Participants will meet at the Earle May Boat Basin Friday morning and be transported via bus and police escort to the BHS field. The running of the torch will be done by Bainbridge chiropractor Landin Marzolf, followed by the Special Olympics oath of “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

“I’m excited about doing it,” Marzolf said. “It is an honor to be asked. We have been providing physicals fro years to make sure the (special needs athletes) can participate.”

The event will last until 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and an award ceremony. All special needs participants will be awarded.