Special Olympics athlete finds stride in cross country running

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 07:58:47-04

Marquis Garner 39, found his stride and is out-running anyone who tells him he can't do something because of his autism.

"I had a hard time fitting in with mainstream society. I got cut from my basketball team, so I did cross country in high school. The runners high for me is being able to enjoy nature and enjoy what God created,” Garner, a Special Olympics athlete and board member, said.

Garner is set to run in the first-ever Special Olympics State Cross Country meet On July 27th.

Thanks to a partnership with Kenosha Running Company, anyone, and everyone is welcomed.

“It's opened to everybody, athletes and non-athletes alike. It's really super-inclusive, people of all abilities can be involved. Whether you're running, or walking, or running slowly, or even in a wheelchair,” Tommy Jaime, Director of Communication for Special Olympics Wisconsin, said.

In fact, the meet will be just one of many that day, creating an opportunity for runners to see each other on the same course.

"What we hope comes out of this is that people in the running community see how special our athletes are, and how capable they are. See how they push themselves just like runners do,” said Tommy.

Marquis will compete in all three distances his race offers, the 800-meter, 1600 meter, and 5k.

It's a lot of running, but don't worry, he has a playlist.

“I won't have headphones on, but I’ll be pacing myself and have my own music in my head. I have some Beethoven, Mozart CDs so I’ll play that in my head,” said Garner.

For more information on the Special Olympics Cross Country Meet, click here.