Special Olympic athletes participating in Tallahassee Marathon for first time

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 31, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Runners in the annual Tallahassee Marathon will take off bright and early at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. This year, a new group will be joining their ranks when five Special Olympic athletes and their buddies run the race's final half-mile.

"I'm excited. It's going to be my first time," said 34-year-old Kerri Outten. "I've competed in boccie, swimming, equestrian."

Outten has been competing in Special Olympics events for years. She said she is looking forward to having fun and seeing her friends at the race.

"Kerri's the best cheerleader you could ever have," said Melanie Dammel, who volunteers with Special Olympics Florida in Leon County.

She said the group is hoping to encourage and to inspire other competitors.

"The people that are finishing, their legs might be a little bit tired. They might be a little bit discouraged. So, it will be really nice for them to meet us at the last half-mile and we can help them get through the rest of the race as well," Dammel told WCTV reporter Katie Kaplan.

The group will receive medals at the finish line and, if things go well, Dammel said they may try a longer distance in the future.

The athletes will be wearing red shirts when they cross the finish line. They will all go at their own pace and are expected to cross the finish line in Collegetown between 11:45 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.

The following road closures are expected on Sunday:

  • Monroe Street from Apalachee Pkwy to Tennessee Street - Approx. 6:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • Thomasville Road from 7th Avenue to Calhoun Street - Approx. 7:30 a.m. to 8:40 a.m.
  • Calhoun Street from Thomasville Road to Tennessee Street - Approx. 7:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.
  • Franklin Blvd. - Approx. 7:40 to 9:10 a.m.
  • Lafayette Street from Franklin Blvd. to Myers Park Drive - Approx. 7:50 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • Madison Street from Copeland Street to Woodward Ave. - Approx. 8:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Woodward Ave. from Gaines Street to St. Augustine Street - Approx. 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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