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5K Saturday aids Special Olympics
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Forsyth County News
At a glance

The 5K begins at 8 a.m. and the fun run begins at 8:45 a.m. Saturday at The Avenue Forsyth, 410 Peachtree Pkwy. Registration is $25 for the 5K, $15 for the fun run. To register in advance, visit Totally Running at 405 Peachtree Pkwy.,  call (678) 458-4933 or go online at and search for “Third Annual Special Olympics Forsyth 5K Family/Fun Run.” For more information on the organization, log on to
The annual Special Olympics Forsyth 5K/Family Fun Run returns Saturday at a new venue, The Avenue Forsyth.

“It’s centrally located and we’ve got The Avenue’s support, and with more runners, we feel like we’ll be able to raise $5,000,” said Susan Darlington, organization coordinator. “We could be wrong because of the economy, but that is our hope.”

The event outgrew its previous location at Shady Grove Park, Darlington said.

Cheerleaders from both North and South Forsyth high schools will take part Saturday, cheering on participants during a friendly competition between schools.

The school with the most students wearing school spirit attire receives a plaque.

Area businesses sponsoring the event will have booths set up. There will also be face painters and refreshments.

Special Olympics athletes will join local families and school athletes in the fun run, said Beth Bourneuf, event coordinator.

“The kids are able to see the kids with special needs in their school actually participating in an event outside of the school and it’s kind of neat for them to see,” she said. “It shows these kids have strengths outside of school ... just like they do. It shows their similarities in some ways.”

Bourneuf said not everyone’s a runner. Many participants walk or come to cheer for their friends.

The venue, she said, could attract shoppers.

“It’s just a great location with high visibility,” she said.

Darlington hopes to have 500 participants. There were about 200 participants last year, up from 150 the year before.

All money raised goes to Forsyth’s Special Olympics athletes and families. Funds pay for equipment, uniforms, travel and lodging during competitions.

Just a few years ago, the organization had just one local event with about 50 athletes, only two of whom participated at the state level.

Darlington said there are now about 275 athletes, 50 who participate in state games and four local events.

“We have just grown tremendously,” Darlington said. “Any time someone hears Special Olympics, they know the cause.

“Often times there is someone that has a friend or relative that has a disability, so it always seems to reach close to home.”