Team Special Olympics Chicago 2021

aka "Erin Runs a Marathon"

I'm running to help Special Olympics athletes—your support is appreciated!

Those who know me know that I hate running. (Yes, still.) Over the course of the past year though, that relationship has at least mellowed to hate/love. I never look forward to a run, but I love how I feel after. I love that running has kept me healthy during Covid and has led me to some truly amazing and strange experiences—like running in the Utah high desert in the middle of the night. As someone who always needs a "next thing", something to plan and anticipate, running provides a nice cadence (oh, running humor, I crack myself up!), lining up one race after another, seemingly for all eternity. So, as I continue to stumble down this tortuous path, a marathon is the next logical step. "Logical" or "masochistic"? I may be confusing those terms.

A full marathon. 26.2 miles. Oof. I've always thought marathon courses were set to serve as playgrounds for mythical half-human gazelles and that mere mortals like me, with asthma and creaky knees, would just be ground to dust if we were to get in the path of all that athletic frolicking. That may actually be true—we'll see. Nonetheless, here I am, fully registered for the Chicago 2021 Marathon.

I found some early inspiration from "Brittany Runs a Marathon", so thank you pop culture. To take on something like this though, I need a bit more push than I can find in a sweet indie film. If there's one thing that ALWAYS inspires me, it's my friends in Special Olympics. I've worked for several years as a mentor in the Athlete Leadership Program, which teaches valuable life skills and community involvement, and as a volunteer/helper/cheerleader for Bocce, Bowling and Standup Paddleboarding (SUP). Most recently, I became certified to coach SUP. It's impossible to "work" a shift with Special Olympics and not feel better at the end of it. No matter if I'm stressed out or lagging in energy, I feel better after. No matter if the water is choppy or it's a thousand degrees outside (common here in Key West), I feel better after. A little like running, I suppose. What makes that transformation happen though is the athletes. It sounds pedestrian to say that there energy is infectious, but damn, there's just no other way to phrase it. They are INCREDIBLE. You will nevernevernevernever see harder work, stronger joy or more positive attitudes than you will from these athletes

I'm beyond honored to be running the Chicago Marathon for Special Olympics Chicago. My heart is in South Florida, but I'm also thrilled to help support athletes in the Midwest, my original home sweet home. It's a wide country full of regional Special Olympics program, but the bottom line is that we're all in it together. We all benefit from a culture that encourages inclusion. So, when I run (walk, crawl, whatever) those 26.2 miles, I'll be thinking about the athletes and reminding myself to "be brave in the attempt".



From Special Olympics Chicago:

We believe connecting people through sports and physical activity are the beginning steps in spreading our mission of inclusion, acceptance, and joy. Together, we can cross the finish line towards more inclusive communities… one runner at a time! 

Special Olympics Chicago also accepts check donations, mailed to the address below. Please make sure to include in the memo section or on a note, the name of the fundraiser (Erin Stover Sickmen) you would like to support. 

Special Olympics Chicago 

2 E. 8th St.

Mezzanine Level

Chicago, IL 60605





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Awesome Humans Making This Happen:

  • Kyla Piscopink 3 days ago
  • Elaine Ginsberg You are a great sport and you will nail this!!! 3 weeks ago $50.00
  • Anonymous covering extra shirt cost : ) Last month
  • Mari & Cliff Lindsley We are so excited for you and this difficult challenge. Rock it girlfriend! Donating in honor of Lil Bitty dog, with love to you, Cliff & Mari Last month
  • Jay W Hall Last month
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  • Kathy Stover Always so proud of ALL you do! You can do anything, my love! Last month $203.50
  • Caroline Stover Sickmen, REALTOR for Key West and Lower Keys You got this Erin! May 2021 $200.00
  • Simone Lasswell May 2021 $105.00
  • Robert Bowersox Go get 'em, Erin! May 2021 $100.00
  • Mandy & Stan Miles Love what Special Olympics does for both athletes and mentors! May 2021 $52.50
  • View More Top Donors