1st Annual Turkey Duathlon benefits Special Olympics athletes

1st Annual Turkey Duathlon benefits Special Olympics athletes

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IMPERIAL - With The Southern California Special Olympics just around the corner, The City of El Centro hosted its first ever Turkey Duathlon early on Saturday morning.

The inaugural Turkey Duathlon featured over 40 participants. All of them got up bright and early on Saturday morning to run, bike, and run again… all for a good cause.

"To be able to do what we love and at the same time contribute to a great organization is very satisfying", says Mexicali resident, Constanza Duarte. "To see all these people out here is emotional, motivating… it's just a great event"

Proceeds from the event will go towards the travel, food and competition expenses for Imperial Valley residents wanting to compete in the worldwide Special Olympics.

The duathlon included a 1-mile run, a 12-mile bike ride, and a 3-mile run to finish.

El Centro resident Greg O'Donnell and his partner finished in first place overall. He says that we can all learn from the Special Olympics participants.

"If they can overcome obstacles in front of them like that, than we can overcome obstacles that are in front of us", he says. "Sometimes in our life, we need to erase our chalkboard and start out with a clean slate and instead of saying ‘I can't do something', say ‘we can do something' and start emulating and working with people who are better than you at various sports and activities so that you improve yourself.

Greg's partner, Tony Darr, says that it feels good to be encouraged and be able to encourage somebody else.

"We're really blessed to have the time and the talents to do these things that we're able to do and have the jobs and the community to stand behind us and great equipment and sponsors and teams like that", he says. "When we do get to ride, you can take very athlete out here, they appreciate their God-given gift".

Participants could choose to do the duathlon by themselves or in a team.

The event was open to anyone, not just Imperial Valley residents. Jonathan McLellan made the trip from Yuma. He liked the amount people that came out.

"This is great", he says. "Coming from Yuma, I wasn't sure how many people were gonna be out here, how many signed up so I think this a real good turnout. It's nice to see people standing up for good causes, things that they believe in, things that people can stand behind"

Emillee Callens is a teacher at Imperial High School. She says that events like these have given her the opportunity to meet a lot people. People that share the same passion as her.

"It's a great chance to help out local charities and get the awareness out there", she says. "It's kind of a hidden activity out here. Stay fit and have a good time. You meet lots of people. It's exciting; you start to make friends out here".

The Southern California Special Olympics will be held on December 8th in Fountain Valley.

It is because of events like The Turkey Duathlon that Imperial Valley residents are able to travel the world participating in The Special Olympics and to most of those at the Turkey Duathlon, that matters more than any first place medal.

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