Cat Edmonds is a college student who created ‘Together for the Long Run,’ a Special Olympics track & field event for people of every ability in her hometown of South Bend, Indiana. She emphasizes that *anyone* can participate.
“Sports have been an important part of my life so I wanted to give [others] the opportunity, too,” she shares.
Meet Cat: Student Organizer
South Bend, Indiana
Catherine Edmonds: Welcome to Together for the Long Run 2019! Thank you for coming out. It’s so exciting, it’s our fourth year. Let’s get started with a prayer.
Cat created this track and field event. Anyone can participate.
I know this year we’re having — there’s a girl who’s coming, her mom reached out to me and she’s like, “She’s in a wheelchair — a mobilized wheelchair. Can she compete?” And I’m like, “Yes. Anyone can compete.” And that’s the beauty of it.
(Speaking to event participant) Hello. How are you?
Cat: You ready?
Participant: Yeah, I am.
Cat: Are you going to win?
Participant: Oh, yeah.
Cat: Go for it!
Participants: … four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
(Participants getting ready for race)
(Crowd cheering for runners)
So we say we’re all capable of things — let’s show our abilities. When I started thinking about creating this event, what made me get up out of bed every morning was thinking about how a big group of people can change the way people think of things, the way we view others. How do we change our viewpoint? How do we become more empathetic? How do we walk in their shoes?
(Talking to participants) And then there’s a scavenger hunt you guys can do. You can play Jenga — people love doing that. Photobooth, face-painting, there’ll be a balloon-twister. There’s food.
Sports have been such an important part to my life, and so I wanted to give them the opportunity. It’s so important to feel the sense of accomplishment.
(Participants competing in field events)
One thing I remember hitting me after my first event is one of the parents of a Special Olympian told their coach, “This is the first time we get to sit back and watch our kid enjoy themselves.”
(Group huddling for a cheer)