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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Suzanne Schiavone

By Emme Punches Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator Since beginning track when she was in middle school, Suzanne Schiavone has always had a natural talent for running. It wasn’t until she attended Boston University that she took her running to a whole new level. It was there that she witnessed her first Boston Marathon. “I’ve been watching the marathon since I attended BU. I was inspired and moved emotionally by what as amazing race it is and the great stories that come from the marathon. How people help each other and find their strengths.” During this time is when…

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Mariel Johnson

By Emme Punches, Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator Mariel Johnson likes to live by one simple phrase that she believes applies to everything, “great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone.” Mariel did just that when she picked up and moved to Boston two short years ago after receiving a job offer from Brown Brothers Harriman. “Growing up a Jersey girl, it was difficult to admit that I immediately felt at home in a new city so far from my family and friends. Boston bestowed such rich history, pride, and intrinsic beauty and I wanted to…

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Lori Potocki

By Emme Punches, Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator Located in Newton, MA between mile 20 and 21, is the infamous Heartbreak Hill. Every runner keeps this climb in mind as they train diligently for the run. It’s the final crest they face as they head into the last 5.2 miles of their grueling journey, and it’s the hardest challenge they overcome before their feet finally cross the finish line. Most runners practice for Heartbreak Hill by racing up similar sized hills, but Lori Potocki is not most runners… “There are no hills in Houston… so I’ve been running up…

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Unified Basketball, Dunking, Community

We are lucky at Special Olympics Massachusetts. So many great people. So many great communities. Our Greater Lawrence Basketball League in one such example. This league has all the key ingredients of an inclusive and amazing Special Olympics Community: Great athletes, incredible volunteer coaches, an engaged school-based host group (Brooks School in North Andover) and of course… the only unified slam-dunk contest in the world! Brooks School student-athlete Ethan Gabert-Doyon made this video highlighting all the action!  

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Bethany Bergeron

Bethany is from Natick, MA and grew up watching the Boston Marathon from the intersection of 135 and Speen Street. Year after year, she watched thousands of runners as they took on the marathon, and knew someday she would too. Q: Do you have any connection to the Boston Marathon?  I grew up watching the Marathon in Natick. It is a positive childhood memory. I have been a runner since high school and I love it. I have participated in half marathons and other races. My sisters have both run Boston and I am excited to have the opportunity…

Author: Special Olympics Massachusetts

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Families are Getting Fit Together

Thanks to the Metrowest YMCA and Special Olympics Massachusetts Keeping fit and healthy is on most people’s to do list. For many families finding the time can be difficult. Incorporating your workout with the entire family can solve that problem. The Metrowest YMCA in Framingham is offering such an option. Working with Special Olympics Massachusetts the Y has created a Fit Families Challenge for groups of four, whether it’s a family unit or an individual with three members of their support group, connected to Special Olympics. The six week program started with a one hour assessment where each family…

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Eric Spindt

By Emme Punches, Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator “Watch me!” Two little words uttered by Eric Spindt years ago have taken on a new meaning in the form of 6, going on 7, completed marathons. That’s right, Eric has run 157.2 miles of grueling race course, each step filled with sweat and tears, blisters and bruises and most importantly, perseverance and triumph. Eric always had the drive in him, all it took was one of his friends joking he couldn’t run a marathon. His response? “Watch me.” Eric was first introduced to Special Olympics when his sister was adopted…

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My Daughter Amanda: A Global Messenger

My daughter, Amanda Church, has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 14 years.  During that time she has had the opportunity to compete at the state level in Aquatics and Basketball and has won numerous Gold Medals.  Additionally, Amanda had the privilege of representing our country in Aquatics on Team USA at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles in 2015 where she won a Silver and Bronze Medal.  Competing in SOMA athletics has challenged Amanda to improve her skills and compete at a higher level.  More importantly, it has demonstrated to her that she with…

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Hank Hudepohl

By Emme Punches, Special Olympics Massachusetts Events Coordinator It takes, on average, 4:19:27 for a male runner to cross a marathon finish line. Hank Hudepohl, however, has left that time in the dust, running the Baystate Marathon in just 3 hours and 30 minutes. It would take the average man 49 minutes just to catch with him! But Hank is anything but average, he is extraordinary. This year Hank is dedicating his Boston Marathon journey to his brothers, who have lived lives just as extraordinary as his because of organizations like Special Olympics. “I’ve been involved with Special Olympics…

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Meet Boston Marathon Runner Kiely Turgeon

“Special Olympics brings sports to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to play. But it’s much deeper than that. Their initiatives promote understanding, acceptance and inclusion between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics has created a model community that celebrates people’s diverse gifts. They have helped my brother David, and other individuals, to recognize their individual strengths and to build a healthy self-esteem and sense of self-worth. As a sister, this is all I want for my brother. So I feel deeply connected to the mission of Special Olympics.” This is why Kiely Turgeon has…

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