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Inspiration Walk continues to pay off for a good cause

I have done the Inspiration Walk at Centennial Park several times over the years, but I never realized how successful it has been at raising funds for the Special Olympics of Howard County program until now. Since 2002, the Inspiration Walk has raised $900,000 and that number really wowed me. Recall that this was the same program that became inactive in 1998, and some felt that it would become another great but doomed program.

Through a lot of grit and determination, the Howard County Special Olympics program — which now offers an incredible 19 sports programs — survived and has become one of the great feel-good programs in the state of Maryland. The money raised by the Inspiration Walk is certainly one of the reasons for the program's success, but there are also three other factors.

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First, Special Olympics has strong leadership at the top. Second, the program has been able to bring out volunteers who come out day in and day out, year after year, to encourage the athletes. And finally, the program has one of the very best volunteers in Diane Mikulis, who has provided us with a window into the program through her timely reporting of events. Her job is not easy, but she is great at what she does. She makes Special Olympics what it is today.

McFadden makes history

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I seem to be reporting a lot lately about Atholton grad Tatyana McFadden. How can you not recognize the first person in history to win two grand slams in marathoning? McFadden won the New York marathon earlier this month. That win followed victories at Boston, London and Chicago earlier in the year.

No able-bodied or wheelchair-bound athlete had ever won four major marathons in a single year, but Tatyana has now done it twice and she is still in her mid-20s. If you think it is easy to push a wheelchair for 26 miles, think again. During the New York race, McFadden tumbled out of her wheelchair while maneuvering through a tight turn, and had to quickly climb back into her seat.

She was recently elected to the Women's Athletics Hall of Fame here and deserves to be recognized as an exceptional athlete. Her record speaks for itself.

Campanaro impresses

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Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro has been sidelined for the past several games with a hamstring injury, but that hasn't stopped him from staying active in the community. The River Hill grad will be at his alma mater before the Hawks' home playoff game against Reservoir on Nov. 14 meeting fans and collecting donations for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign.

Stop by the school lobby between 5:15 and 6:30 p.m., bring an unwrapped toy or donation, and meet Campanaro and the Ravens cheerleaders.

Read Phillips' book

I just finished reading Lincoln Phillips' book "Rising Above and Beyond the Crossbar". I have known Lincoln for more than three decades and have always had enormous respect for him. His latest book is both an autobiography and a history lesson at the same time. It is so much more than a book about soccer.

Turf Valley Trot is coming

There is still time to register for the 2nd Annual Turf Valley Trot 10k and 1-mile Family Fun Walk set for Nov. 23 at the Turf Valley Towne Square. All proceeds are earmarked for the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation. Runners will cover the entire 18-hole cart path of the golf course.

After the race and walk, there will be a party inside a heated tent complete with a live band. To register, go to nightmaregraphics.com/zacf10k. Check in is at 7:30 a.m. with the 10k starting one hour later. Once you get to Turf Valley, just follow the crowd.

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