The Baltimore Police Chase, a five-mile run to benefit the Baltimore City Special Olympics, will serve as a preliminary race for two city athletes destined for international competition.
Tico Clawson and Brian Fultz are two of three runners with developmental disabilities who are expected to be at the starting line at 9 a.m. tomorrow when the race begins in front of police headquarters on Fayette Street, and they hope to be in the front of the pack at the finish line at the Inner Harbor's Rash Field.
There will also be a one-mile "fun run" for children and anyone else who cares to participate.
As for the five-miler, Clawson, a 17-year-old junior at Venable High School, said: "I'm hoping to win it, but I really just want to get myself in shape for the [Special Olympic] World Games." Asked if he'd be running alongside Fultz tomorrow, he said, "If he can keep up with me."
Clawson may be taking a low-key approach to this weekend's fund-raiser -- which is sponsored by the Baltimore City Police Department -- but he, Fultz and Tony Gorczyka, from Montgomery County, will be all business when they take part in next week's Penn Relays in Philadelphia and the World Games this summer in New Haven, Conn.
At the World Games, this year's largest international sporting event, Clawson and Fultz will compete independently in the half-marathon, a 13-mile footrace, and Gorczyka will team up with Bill Wood in a "unified" competition that pairs athletes with and without developmental disabilities against similar teams.
Wood, a Westminster resident and program director for the Maryland Special Olympic Summer Games, said he isn't sure if he's ready to endure tomorrow's race, but he is confident it will provide his athletes with the experience they need.
"I want Tico and Brian to see what it's like to run in a road race, so that they'll know what it's like in Connecticut," said Wood. "It's a chance for Tico and Brian to get their feet wet and an opportunity for Tony and I to get some miles underneath of us."