I Am ABLE, Kids Run see doubled participation in 2nd year; STGnews Photo Gallery

Look, Mom! I got to medal!, Kids Run, Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Hundreds of children and those with special needs and their families gathered at Vernon Worthen Park in St. George Friday night for the I Am ABLE race and Move it! Kids Run, prelude events to the St. George Marathon.

I Am ABLE

I Am Able run participant with an infectious smile, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
I Am Able run participant with an infectious smile, Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Shortly before 6 p.m., individuals of all ages with special needs gathered at two separate points on opposite sides of the park. Some chose to run the 200 meter race, while others went for the mile-long one. Participants young and old came together in the race and were aided by mentor-volunteers. Families and others gathered on the side of the road and took photos while eagerly waiting for the races to start.

Once the word was given and the I am ABLE race began, the crowd exploded into cheers as racers began to make their way down the road. Some ran on their own, while some used walkers and others were in wheel chairs aided by a volunteer.

Brianna Rosia, program coordinator for the Move It! program that sponsors the I Am ABLE race and Kids Run, said an estimated 200 people had registered for I Am ABLE, which is twice as many as there were last year when it first started. The same was true for the Kids Run, which garnered around 700 registrations this year as well.

At the finish line of the I Am Able run, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
At the finish line of the I Am ABLE run, Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Last year only one of the races was held the night before the marathon. This year they were combined to enable more people to participate – and it worked.

“It’s our second year,” Rosia said. “We’re really excited because it is the night before (the marathon) and not the morning of, giving more people the opportunity to come out and participate.”

Rosia was at the St. George Marathon finish line with others handing out medals to everyone who completed the 200-meter and mile-long runs. Among them was her 14-year-old brother, Trevor, who is also an individual with special needs.

“The I am ABLE is very special,” Rosia said with emotion in her voice as she stood near her little brother. “Being involved is really amazing because it gives him the opportunity to participate … I work at races every day and this is finally one he gets to participate in.”

Kids Run

The horde has been released! Kids Run, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The horde has been released! Kids Run, Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The Kids Run was held at 6:30 p.m. As with the race before them, the participants had the choice of a 200-meter long race, or the mile-long one.

A horde of children of various ages gathered at the starting line on 400 East by the park. Lining the roadside ahead of them were their parents, phones and cameras in hand to document the pending stampede.

Once the kids were let loose and stormed down the road, an unofficial race involving parents hoping to get the best photos of their little ones running also began.

Corry Heppler’s 6-year-old daugther, Lilly, ran the 200-meter race. “My daughter and I had a lot of fun,” he said. “She laughed the laughed the whole way.”

“It was fun,” Lilly said.

At the finish line, Kids Run, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
At the finish line, Kids Run, Vernon Worthen Park, St. George, Utah, Oct. 3, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Brooklyn Plant, 4, of Roy, Utah, ran the mile-long race. “I ran because I wanted the medal,” she said.

“It was exciting,” said Brandon Plant, Brooklyn’s father. “They had good mentors there so we didn’t have much to worry about.”

Brandon and his wife are both running in the St. George Marathon Saturday.

A party for the runners and their families was held at the park following the Kids Run.

Registration fees from the races go toward the All-Abilites Park being built by the City of St. George.

 

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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