Special Olympics
By Kathryn Menue
BELVIDERE – On Sunday, Feb. 28, the Northlands Association for Special Recreation (NASR) Belvidere Special Olympics will host their third annual ‘Hug an Athlete 5K Run/Walk/Roll.’
“This event helps raise awareness and highlight the NASR Belvidere Special Olympics athletes,” Amber Eck, Special Recreation Supervisor and Special Olympics Athletic Director for NASR-Belvidere Park District, said. “It also helps offset and facilitate administering the NASR Belvidere Special Olympics program to be of the highest quality.”
NASR is hosting the 5K event to raise funds for the NASR Belvidere Pirates Special Olympic athletes.
“All the net proceeds will be used towards providing NASR Belvidere Special Olympics with new equipment, uniforms, scholarships for athletes in need, and help with accommodating the growth of the program in general,” Eck said. “We are so thankful for our generous sponsors and those that take the time to register and participate. Our goal is to raise $4,000 this year.”
Through fundraisers like the Hug an Athlete 5K, the NASR Belvidere Pirates can participate in 10 different sporting events including: Winter Aquatics/ Snowshoe; Spring Athletics such as track and field and bocce; Summer athletics such as bowling, golf, softball, tennis and volleyball; and Fall basketball.
To further support the athletes participating in these sports, NASR will host this event, which will take place in Doty Park at 1 p.m. and will follow the course of Belvidere Park District’s Kishwaukee Riverfront paths.
According to the Hug an Athlete 5K website (http://www.huganathlete5k.org/), “The race will start on the bike path near Doty Park Pavilion and continue across the river into the Belvidere Park” with a water station being provided at about the 1.2 mile marker.
NASR encourages everyone to join the 5K. The course is “ADA accessible and will be cleared and salted if weather permits,” to ensure a safe run for all participants.
Plus, those who participate will be surrounded by a supportive environment, cheering them on as they promote a worthy cause.
NASR “athletes will be throughout the race course providing encouragement and will be giving free hugs at the end of the race to all the race finishers,” the website states.
Not only will racers be surrounded by love, but there will also be rewards for top finishers and treats for all participants.
The top male and female racers will receive a trophy along with the oldest, youngest, and last place finishers receiving Spirit Awards for their effort to support the NASR Belvidere Pirates.
The top three male and female runners from each of the following categories will also receive a medal.
The categories include: ages 10 and under, 11 to 14-year-olds, 15 to 19-year-olds, 20 to 24-year-olds, 25 to 29-year-olds, 30 to 34-year-olds, 35 to 39-year-olds, 40 to 44-year-olds, 45 to 49-year-olds, 50 to 54-year-olds, 55 to 59-year olds, 60 to 64-year-olds, 65 to 69-year-olds, and participants 70-years and over.
In addition to the awards, the post race celebration will feature snacks and hot cocoa for all of the finishers. After the festivities at the park, “race participants will have the opportunity to ice skate at Riverside Ice Arena.”
Eck hopes they will get a lot of participants like the race had last year.
“We had 158 individuals register for last year’s race,” Eck said. “We currently have 140 registered as of Feb. 1. Our goal is to have 200 participants.”
With so many participants, NASR recruited numerous volunteers to put on the event.
“There will be about 40 volunteers helping with the event. Volunteers will be used mainly as course guides and then help with the setup and tear down of the event,” Eck said. “Many volunteers are middle and high school students as a part of service groups or an athletic team. We also have help from area churches.”
All of these volunteers and racers demonstrate that this 5K is a community effort to raise money and awareness for a great cause.
“The 5K has been a team effort. We do a variety of fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for programs in our special recreation department,” Eck said. “It seemed fitting to do an active event to help raise money for our athletic programs which includes our NASR Belvidere Special Olympics.”
If anyone is interested in racing or volunteering for the Hug an Athlete 5K Run/Walk/Roll, go online to www.huganathlete5k.org.
The registration fee for racing is $30 from now until Feb. 25 and $35 for those who sign-up between Feb. 26 and Feb. 28.
After registering, participants can pick-up an information packet on Friday, Feb. 26 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the NASR Facility, located at 6581 Revlon Dr. in Belvidere; Saturday, Feb. 27 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the NASR Facility; or on Sunday, Feb. 28 at the Doty Park Race Site from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Racers will also have between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to register on the day of the race if they have not registered prior to race day.
Those who do register late on race day will receive a “swag bag” on a first come, first serve basis.
For more information, please visit: www.huganathlete5k.org.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.