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Special Olympics athletes finish last mile of 500 Festival mini marathon in person

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Special Olympics 500 Festival Mini Marathon wrapped up on Sunday, as athletes got to share their last mile of the virtual race in person.

The race included 27 athletes of diverse abilities, who walked and ran the final mile together in a northeast-side neighborhood. The starting line was at Sherman Drive and East 61st Street.

They had been running and walking on their own time for the past several weekends due to the pandemic.

Organizers pulled out all the stops to make the last mile feel like the real mini marathon, with a likeness of a row of bricks at the end and racing flags along the course.

Andrew Peterson, 500 Festival running ambassador, has competed in the mini marathon for eight straight years and is one of few Special Olympics athletes to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He shared why running is important to him.

“I like it, I’m good at it and I can get even better with a lot of hard work,” Peterson said.

Athletes kissed the bricks and received their medals at the end of the race.