By: Lauren Gainor & Karina Hornbaker
What does Special Olympics mean to you? What drives you to go running for this year’s Boston Marathon®? These are only just a few questions asked when interviewing Patrice Glancy, a current runner for Special Olympics Massachusetts.
Patrice’s passion for Special Olympics Massachusetts runs deeper than just her commitment to run 26.2 miles on April 18th; she’s been a special needs teacher in the Boston Public School system for over 14 years and a Special Olympics Massachusetts coach for 10. When asked about her career as a special education teacher, Patrice said, “I have always loved working with children/people with special needs. I feel that they are all so unique and special in their own way and all have so much to offer.” Once Patrice heard about Special Olympics and all the work it does to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities develop personal growth and cultivate friendships through sports, she was hooked. Being part of Special Olympics Massachusetts was a perfect way to build on her teaching passion; so much so that she decided to start the Jackson Mann track and field team in 2007. Since that time, Patrice has touched the lives of over 50 Special Olympics Massachusetts athletes in her 9 years of coaching. “Working with children with disabilities is my true passion and calling in life. Enriching the lives of people with special needs is something that fulfills me as a person. I have seen the amazing opportunities Special Olympics [has] provided to people not only in Massachusetts, but all over the world. I think it is one of the most amazing organizations that has ever been founded.”
Patrice’s 2016 marathon experience isn’t the first time she’s been affiliated with Special Olympics Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon; in fact, Patrice was one of the two original runners who participated in the first official Special Olympics Massachusetts team as part of the John Hancock charity program back in 2009. In that year, Patrice raised over $13,000 for the organization. When asked about her fundraising for this year, Patrice says, “It would be an honor to raise money for my athletes (current/former students) as well as the many others that participate in Special Olympics.” Patrice says that she would not run for any other charity other than for Special Olympics Massachusetts because she believes in the core of what they are about and what they do for people with special needs. She believes that Special Olympics Massachusetts enhances the lives of it participants and she loves to be part of that experience through her coaching and through her professional career.
When asked about training for the marathon Patrice joked that the key was to, “Run a lot!” Ultimately, Patrice believes that you truly need to prepare yourself mentally and physically by following your training schedule and taking care of yourself. When thinking about race day, Patrice is looking forward to turning left on Hereford Street and turning right onto Boylston as she nears the famous Boston Marathon finish line. Patrice hopes to see her friends, family, and students at the run; in fact, her special needs athletes that were part of her first track team back in 2007 will be cheering her on from the sideline on race day. Having her athletes supporting her on race day will be the thing to drive her toward the finish line.
Patrice, Special Olympics Massachusetts appreciates everything you do for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in your life. The passion and love you hold for this organization is valued and always cherished. Good luck to Patrice!