Disability Issues

Program helps disabled man train for Chicago Marathon

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Chicago Marathon is next Sunday, and approximately 45,000 runners are hoping to complete the 26.2-mile course.

Many participants are running to support different not-for-profit organizations . Some even make personal commitments, including one runner who has an intellectual disability.

Grateful for the support from best buddies, 24-year-old Julian Reggans wants to show his appreciation by doing what he does best: run.

Rain or shine, the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will start at 7:30 a.m. Reggans says he hs been traineing hard.

"I've been doing five days, burrently four days a wekk," he said. "There are times when I've run alone when I'm late to make it to the fun runs along with a group, but other than that."

When Reggans finished high school, he got involved with Best Buddies Illinois.

"I needed the Best Buddies program so that I can communicate more with people from there."

Julian's buddy is Cliff Payne.

"We me through the Best Buddies program about a year ago," Payne said. "We get together at a sports game. We went to the White sox game recently together. Julian is a big fan of Chicago's Summer Dance. So, we went out and danced one night at Chicago Summer Dance."

Anneitta Blanford from the organization says they will have 70 runners for Best Buddies Illinois, but Julian is the first person with an intellectual disability to run.

"We're really, really excited about it. All the years that we have been a psar to fh marathon, we've never had one ofour participants run on behalf of us," Blanford said.

"I'm thinking of shooting [for] three hours and 50 minutes or four hours," Julian said.

"It's going to set the stage for more people with disabilities to runt he marathon, and I think that you k now people watching it are really going to be inspired by it," Blanford said.

"I know he's done a lot of other running events, and I know this was on his bucket list of things he wanted to do, and one of his goals for the year," Payne said.

The Chicago Marathon was scheduled for October 7.

For more information on Best Buddies and the Chicago Marathon, visit www.bestbuddiesillinois.org and www.chicagomarathon.com.

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