Local Athlete Runs To Raise Money For Special Olympics Michigan

The Special Olympics State Summer Games is a celebration, a culmination of months and even years of work for athletes, coaches and volunteers.

One dedicated runner is taking his talents past this week’s events, to something much bigger, all to help raise money for the games he loves so much.

9&10’s Michelle Dunaway introduces us to a man with the heart of a champion.

"Wanting to become a long distance runner and then sprint runner, like short distance runner, everything you name it, the whole 9 yards," says Special Olympics athlete, Kelly Everson.

For Kelly Everson, the Special Olympics has him out training many months of the year.

Right now his focus is track and field for the state summer games.

He represents Area 2, the Grand Traverse region.

"Kelly is amazing,” says Track & Field long distance coach, Annie Magin. “He’s running his little heart out. He did the 5k at the local games he’s going to do it at the state games and he’s got lofty goals for that.”

Annie Magin is his coach.

She started with Special Olympics about three years ago.

"The personalities that just shine through when they get to compete and do what they love,” says Magin. “It’s an amazing feeling to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish. It’s awesome."

While Kelly’s short term goals include his three events at the state summer games, he’s got some big accomplishments coming up this fall and there is a long road ahead.

"Allison came over to me and said ‘Hey Kelly, come over here, I have a question. Would you like to do the Detroit Marathon with us Special Olympians?’ and I said sure why not. Put me down for it," explains Everson.

Now this won’t be Kelly’s first marathon, he ran The Bayshore a couple of years ago, but he remembers it well, finishing in 4 hours, 54 minutes and 14 seconds.

"A dream come true,” says Everson. “I made my grandma, I made my whole everybody proud and it made me show everybody the heart of a champion. And to have the most beautiful life you can be and you’re having your dreams come true"

Now he’s stepping up his training and logging the miles in preparation for the race this October.

"I want to take an hour off from The Bayshore and so I am just trying to train hard and make everybody in the state pleased and proud," says Everson.

Even more than that, he will be raising money for Special Olympics Michigan because the organization is so close to his heart.

"I love going it’s not only to get a medal it’s not only for the ribbon,” explains  It’s just seeing those wonderful smiling faces that makes the whole state proud and having the joy and cheerful on their faces."

The games help make memories for the athletes and for those who lend their support, their expertise, their time and their applause.

Everyone is welcome to watch the competition.

"You actually see some of the most exciting things you’ve ever seen in sports when you watch this because they’re a lot of effort a lot of camaraderie,” says Area 2 Director, John Casteel. “They do want to win, but they’re very good sports when they’re not winning"

If you can’t make it out to cheer, Kelly has another option:

"Please, please, please raise donated to Special Olympics Michigan," adds Everson.

Kelly ran the 5k Friday.

To learn how to donate to the fundraising page for his marathon run, click here.

There you’ll also find information if you’re interested in running to raise money for Michigan’s athletes.

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