Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Doreen Britton

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

“If you’re not living on the edge you’re just taking up space!”

Running for 35 years, Doreen Britton has participated in over 20 races, including a mud run, an inflatable obstacle run, several sprint triathlons, a 64-mile bike ride and 3 previous Falmouth Road Races. Doreen has been active with Special Olympics for many years and is currently a coach for bowling in the winter and track and field in the spring. Special Olympics is something Doreen loves to be apart of, especially with her job as a special education teacher for multiple grades as well as working with students with physical, social and intellectual disabilities.

Being an active member of the SOMA community, Doreen sees all the hard work that is put into changing the lives of the thousands of athletes all over the state, which is why she is happy to be fundraising for this organization. “As a coach I am aware of the cost of everything that goes into a sport season for Special Olympics and want to do my part to ensure every athlete of the Barnstable Public Schools has the opportunity to participate.”

Even with a recent injuries, Doreen still pushes herself to run multiple times a week. She is motivated to run because of how she feels after, as well as how she is running for SOMA. “I see how so many students with disabilities struggle daily and me running for an hour a couple times a week doesn’t compare.”

We thank you for your support in helping us change the lives of athletes all over the state. Best of luck on race day, Doreen!

Please consider supporting Doreen or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races?Join the Xtra Mile today! 

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Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Jill Stone

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

Growing up in Hanover, MA and spending her summers on the Cape, Jill Stone has run the Falmouth Road Race in both 2014 and 2015, and is very happy to be back running this year for Special Olympics Xtra Mile Team with her best friend, Elizabeth Downs.

Motivated by Special Olympics Massachusetts athlete Andrew Lawson, Elizabeth’s cousin, as well as her husband’s cousin, Seth Dame who is a Special Olympics Rhode Island athlete, Jill is running for #LawsonStrong and #SethStrong. “Andrew and Seth are two of the sweetest guys you’ll ever meet and I’m honored to run for these two amazing athletes and the organization that has encouraged them to chase their dreams!!”

Busy with work and motherhood, Jill uses running as time to herself. “As a working Mom it can be some of the only “me” time I get during the week. It’s a time to be with my thoughts, release some stress, and burn some calories. I’m a better Mom and wife when I’ve gone for my runs. During my runs, I just take a peek at my #SethStrong and #LawsonStrong bracelets and keep pushing myself for those guys.” 

Working with non-profit organizations throughout her entire career as well as adults with developmental disabilities, Jill is thankful for her involvement Special Olympics. “I have worked for the American Red Cross for 13 years as a Health & Safety Account Executive. I have worked for non-profit organizations my entire career and know the value and importance of donations. My previous job was a Residential Coordinator/Advocate at New England Village’s in Pembroke – a community for adults with developmental disabilities – many of my residents were active with Special Olympics.”

Running multiple times over the course of the week, sometimes including her 9 month old son and his stroller in her runs, Jill is ready to take on the Falmouth Road Race for the third time. Thanks for helping Special Olympics Massachusetts change the lives of thousands of athletes. Best of luck in August!

Please consider supporting Jill or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races?Join the Xtra Mile today! 

Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Tanya Sullivan

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

Tanya Sullivan’s involvement with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) started about 5 years ago when her son, William, was asked to take part in the Five Town School Day Games where he and many other school aged athletes were able to compete in a specific sport-themed event. With the day filled with excitement, dedication and even a surprise special guest, Tanya says it was a day she will never forget. “Last year, Rob Gronkowski (yes, Gronk!) surprised everyone by showing up in Ashland to run football plays with every athlete at the games. We will never forget that day and will always appreciate his time and dedication to children with special needs. Each year WIlliam has grown more confident, capable, and enthusiastic to participate.” 

Tanya is very excited to be running for SOMA as part of the Xtra Mile team, especially because of her son’s recent involvement. She is extremely thankful for everything that SOMA has done for her family. “William takes pride in the medals he has won and in the athletic efforts he has made to earn them. We are so grateful for the Special Olympics of Massachusetts for giving our family the gift of this experience. Running Falmouth for the Special Olympics of MA is my way of giving back to such a special organization that will always hold a place in my heart.”

William has now been involved with the Milford Special Olympics Swim Team for two years now, and his dedication to his team has truly inspired his family. During this years’ games, William was awarded the silver medal in the 50 meter backstroke and a bronze medal in the 50 meter freestyle. Tanya was extremely proud of not only William for his accomplishments, but also her husband and other son, Aidan, for dedicating their time to be official SOMA volunteers at the swimming events.

Spending most of her summers in Falmouth, Tanya has had lots of practice running this road race. “Falmouth Road Race was the first “official” road race I ran after having my third son (I was probably 30). I wasn’t really a “runner” until after I had kids. I had to find efficient exercise where I could take them with me in a stroller (or double stroller most of the time).”

Even though Tanya’s favorite time of day to run is in the early morning, she is still extremely excited to be running in the midday heat for Special Olympics. We thank you for all your support and we cannot wait to see you cross that finish line in August!

Please consider supporting Tanya or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races?Join the Xtra Mile today! 

Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Elizabeth Downs

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

Elizabeth Downs started getting involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) when her cousin, Andrew Lawson, joined several years ago. “I got involved with Special Olympics through my cousin Andrew. I would attend his swimming events and just be blown away at the excitement of the athletes, coaches, and spectators.” 

Elizabeth is part of the 2017 Xtra Mile team for the Falmouth Road Race. With this being her third time running this race, she uses the motivation from Andrew to continue running. “This year my motivation behind Falmouth is my cousin Andrew. Andrew has been a Special Olympics athlete for several years now. Over the last two years he has been battling cancer. He is such a fighter! My aunt mentioned to me that Special Olympics had a team, and as soon as I was off the phone with her, I filled out my application. What better way to honor my pal than to run for the very organization that has given him so many wonderful, happy opportunities.”

Running with her best friend, Jill Stone, who is also apart of the Xtra Mile team, Elizabeth is very excited to have the opportunity to run this race once again. “I have run Falmouth twice. The event is amazing. The crowd is outstanding. Just pray that it’s not too hot!!!”

While Elizabeth has continued to watch Andrew compete in events over the years, her love for Special Olympics has grown tremendously. She is thankful for the opportunities that Special Olympics has given Andrew. “One word that comes to mind when I think of Special Olympics is “inspirational”. Special Olympics is an amazing organization. The opportunities they provide for their athletes are endless. I have been to several events and every time I watch athletes compete, cheer on their fellow teammates, and receive their medals I am left with a feeling of absolute amazement. Another word that comes to mind when I think of Special Olympics is “community.” The sense of family that they have provided for families with children that are disabled is something that most people are incredibly grateful for.”

The inspiration Elizabeth receives from Andrew is not only related to running, but also to her job. Elizabeth worked for North River Collaborative as an ABA therapist after she graduated from college but became an inclusion teacher three years later. Since then, she has been working at Cedar Elementary, switching between 2nd and 3rd grade. She thanks Andrew for inspiring her to become a teacher. “The inspiration for becoming a teacher was my cousin, Andrew Lawson. Andrew was born on March 19, 1990, and from the moment I met him, an interest sparked in regards to his early intervention and therapies. I knew it was the path I wanted to purse. Through Andrew’s parents I was introduced to what Special Olympics was, and how many wonderful opportunities it provides to children with disabilities.”

Special Olympics Massachusetts thanks you for your support and wishes you the best of luck on race day, Elizabeth!

Please consider supporting Elizabeth or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races? Join the Xtra Mile today!

Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Katelin Cwieka

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

Why Special Olympics? Katelin’s connection with Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) started about 7 or 8 years ago when one of her close friends, who has a son with Down Syndrome, convinced her to get involved. Katelin began slowly with fundraising then participated in an LETR run as well as a polar plunge and she was hooked. She continued to get involved and volunteer more, and now years later, here she is running the Falmouth Road Race as part of the Special Olympics Massachusetts Xtra Mile team. Running since she was 14 years old and already completing about 6 races this year, this race adds to her total of over 100 races that she has participated in.

Katelin believes Special Olympics means inclusion and something for everyone. She thinks that sports, comradery and teamwork are things that everyone should get to enjoy, and she loves how Special Olympics really emphasizes that.

Growing up in Pembroke, MA, Katelin works at Avidia Bank as the Assistant Vice President of Social Media and Brand Communication. Since Avidia has been a long time partner and sponsor of SOMA, Katelin has lots of opportunity to work with SOMA and their different events, such as the Polar Plunge and the Tournament of Champions. Recently, Katelin has completed her first half marathon which has made her even more excited to run the 7-mile Falmouth Road Race. Between her pump up song, ‘Shipping up to Boston’ by Dropkick Murphy’s, her motto, “Keep positive about everything” and her husband and two best friends attending the race to cheer her on, Katelin is more than ready.

Preparing for her race, Katelin runs about 4-5 times a week with her runs ranging from 3 – 10 miles focusing on the longer distances on the weekend. With such a love of running, Katelin rarely struggles getting herself ready for a run and plans on focusing on how great she will feel after it is completed. Katelin loves the outdoors and really enjoys how she feels during a run. Katelin is determined to shorten her time during this race, so if you see her running, be sure to cheer her on!!

Best of luck on race day, Katelin!

Please consider supporting Katelin or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races? Join the Xtra Mile today! 

Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Christina Lombardi

By Peyton Heller

Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

Starting her running career when she was just 13 years old, Christina Lombardi had no idea what she was getting herself into. “I competed in a total of 16 seasons of Cross Country and Track and Field. I stopped in college to focus more on studies but never stopped visiting the road. Once college was over, I really just enjoyed running on my own. My biggest challenge was my half marathon back in 2014 in Disney.” Running has always been something she has enjoyed, and being an athlete since such a young age, she cannot imagine what it would be like to not have sports in her life, which is why she is such a fan of Special Olympics. “Having been an athlete since childhood, I could never imagine not having that outlet and being told’you can’t do it’. To be able to just help one person, no matter the impairment in enjoying this crucial asset in life – is what drives me to be here today.” Christina lives by the motto “Yes you can”! She often reminds herself of this when she is training for a race. “So often do I hear ‘I could never run that or do this or win that’. Running is so mentally challenging, the first thing you must prepare to train is not your legs – but your mind. YOU CAN DO IT!!”

Christina works in Human Resources for a global pharma company, as well as The Vin Bin, which is a local shop and café which offers a variety of foods, drinks and gifts, and as dog walking on Rover. The Vin Bin donates goods and services to Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) which Christina had the pleasure of coordinating. Being given the opportunity to work with SOMA thru work made Christina want to get more involved with SOMA, and here she is, running the Falmouth Road Race for the Xtra Mile team.

With this being the first time Christina has run a race for Special Olympics, this is also her first time fundraising for a race. She is thankful for the support from her friends and family, as well as Rover. . “This is my first time fundraising and it has been going well so far. 50% has been amazing support from friends and family and 50% I have been donating 100% of profits from Rover (dog walking). I tell all my clients that their money is going straight to SOMA and they are always very happy about that.” Everyone that is involved with SOMA- athletes, volunteers, employees, etc., -all appreciate your fundraising. Good luck as you continue fundraising and best of luck on race day, Christina!

Please consider supporting Christina or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races? Join the Xtra Mile today!

Meet Falmouth Road Race Runner Beth Donahue

By Peyton Heller
Special Olympics Massachusetts Development Intern

“I know I can do it.” “Just keep going.” “I got this.”

Being involved with Special Olympics since she was 8 years old, Beth Donahue has always pushed herself to do her best, while inspiring others to do their best both in sports and in life. Beth first got involved with Special Olympics Massachusetts when her parents signed her up for soccer, but she didn’t stop there. For the past 19 years, she has competed in gymnastics, basketball, track, and skiing. More recently, Beth has focused on running, which is how she got involved with the Special Olympics XTRA Mile Team for the Falmouth Road Race. With an extensive history of running 5K races, mostly with Special Olympics, Beth has decided to focus more on her long distance training since this race will be the longest one she has competed in so far. The distance is no match for Beth’s love and dedication to SOMA. “Over the past several years, Special Olympics has given me so many opportunities to speak on their behalf and I have enjoyed the opportunities to inspire others to support people with disabilities. I also love to run and lift weights so doing the Falmouth Race is a perfect match for me.”

With the help of her new running shoes, R.I.P.P.E.D. boot camp music, and her mom, who is a fitness instructor, Beth is always ready for a good workout. “If I have been indoors all day at work or in class, my favorite thing to do is come home, change, grab my dog’s leash, and go for a run with my dog, Cooper. He is a 3- year- old Yellow Lab.”

Growing up in Marlborough, MA, Beth is currently taking classes at MassBay Community College as well as working part-time at Marshalls and Walgreens. “Both companies employ people with disabilities, and I am grateful for the opportunity to use my skills and show how much inclusion matters. I like to spread the word about my volunteer work and all the great things that Special Olympics does to improve peoples’ lives through sports.”
With so much love for Special Olympics, Beth is very excited to be running yet another race for them. Be sure to cheer her on if you see her running the road race on August 20th! Good luck on race day, Beth!

 

Please consider supporting Beth or one of the other Xtra Mile Falmouth runners!

Want to run Falmouth, bike in the Rodman Ride for Kids, or a number of other races? Join the Xtra Mile today!