Special Olympics athlete is more than just a runner

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. — The Whiskeydaddle Races took over Peoria this weekend, and on Sunday, people ran the relay, half, and full marathons.

Andrew Peterson was one of the runners, finishing fourth overall in the marathon.

But he’s not just an athlete, he’s an inspiration.

Most people won’t run a marathon in their lifetime, let alone 13.

“That in itself is a pretty big feat,” said Craig Peterson, Andrew’s dad.

On Sunday, Andrew Peterson ran the Whiskeydaddle marathon for the first time.

“He had a bike by him at all times, so he wouldn’t get lost on the course. So, we’ve been treated very well here,” said Craig Peterson.

But running, is something he’s been doing for a long time.

“I was in second grade. I kind of played too rough with the other kids,” said Andrew Peterson.

So, his father suggested he walk laps at recess.

“I started running laps around the playground. The other kids joined me, but nobody could keep up,” said Andrew Peterson.

Now, Andrew is a well-known Special Olympics athlete. And though he was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, he doesn’t let it stop him.

“I don’t ever want your pity, rather I need your respect. The respect that all people with all differences deserve,” said Andrew Peterson.

Other athletes have seen what Andrew can do, and hope to someday do the same.

“What’s been amazing is we’re now seeing other Special Olympics athletes that see Andrew as a role model , and they want to run marathons too. And that’s what it’s all about, is raising the bar for everybody and raising expectations,” said Craig Peterson.

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