Public asked to support inclusion event

ABOVE: Nearly 300 participants, made up of community members and high school students, took part in an untimed Inclusion Million Millimeter Mini Marathon last year, raising awareness for inclusivity and Special Olympics. Coordinators of the marathon hope to significantly increase participant quantities this year on May 18th.

FAIRMONT– Ready, set, go! Put on your running shoes and join the inclusion revolution. The community of Fairmont is cordially welcomed to join the second annual Million Millimeter Mini Marathon for Inclusion, an untimed family-friendly event that will take place at 11:45 a.m. on May 18 at the Bob Bonk Track and Mahoney Field at Fairmont High School.

Fairmont High School (FHS) is a Unified Champion School, partnering with the Special Olympics movement to bring an event to promote the message of inclusivity, and a harmonious community that looks beyond any person’s capabilities or qualities.

Mark Hernes is a mathematics teacher at Fairmont High School. He commented on the significance of the event, as it not only provides the community with a sociable-focused activity, but leaves them with a long-standing, impactful message of togetherness.

“We’re really trying to make connections with people of all different ages, and all different abilities,” he said. “People often participate thinking they’re helping those with disabilities–and that’s true. What they then realize is that they get as much as they put in. Everyone gets a benefit too, when we connect.”

Community members who choose to participate for inclusivity awareness, rest assured, are not required to run on a timed course. The event remains family-friendly and accessible to all. The marathon is untimed, and members of the Fairmont community can walk, jog, run, crawl, hop, or cartwheel to complete the million millimeters. The length is roughly estimated to be a short distance over two laps around the Bob Bonk track field.

Hernes mentioned the message of the marathon is spread by word of mouth, and through associations with REM Housing, CER Summer Program, Step Inc., and Special Olympics programs. After expressing his hope to increase the amount of participating members of the community (versus last year, which had been nearly 300), he hopes he can mobilize more to take part. The event allows others to play a role to bring attention to the evolution of disability inclusion, while simultaneously enjoying a delightful event.

“Everyone has things to offer. When we work together, we all grow,” said Hernes.

He noted that events like this help blur the lines of what separates people in these circumstances.

Registration is open and costs $5 per attendee. Registration can be made on the CER website, or by contacting Mark Hernes at MHernes@fairmont.k12.mn.us. By registering, participants are guaranteed a free tee-shirt that will be distributed at that event or within the second cycle of tee-shirt distribution. Participants in the Million Millimeter Mini Marathon are expected to check in between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. The marathon will begin at 11:45 a.m. Lunch will be provided for registered participants; including porkchop-on-a-stick, cookies, watermelon, chips and water.

“When we include everyone, it revolutionizes how we think.” Hernes said.


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