CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The athletes lift, practice, and train for 8 weeks. They are trying to calm their nerves, because for many, this is the first time they will compete. Finally, their hard work will pay off Saturday April, 2nd.
"Running is one of the special things that I love to do," said athlete Dary McIntyre.
And lucky for him, he's good at it.
"Not really about a bunch of competition for me, I just love to do it," said McIntyre.
He will be one of the 350 athletes competing in the Special Olympics Spring Games Track and Field Meet this weekend in Cape Girardeau.
Athletes come from 14 different counties to participate at the Student Rec Center on Southeast Missouri State's campus.
"We will offer everything you will see at a high school track meet," said Penny Williams.
She says it's an important day for the athletes.
"A lot of times in life they're told that they can't do it, and Special Olympics assures them that they can do it," said Williams.
"I just basically keep participating in the events I'm doing now because I love to have fun," said McIntyre.
"No matter what your ability level is, you should be able to participate in sports," said Williams.
She says it opens doors for the participants. McIntyre actually traveled to Greece last year after competing in the state level games.
"It was awesome, I enjoyed it, I also still wish I was going back there again," said McIntyre.
"Things that we sometimes take advantage of in our lives, Special Olympics provides it for those athletes," said Williams.
Williams says one of the important parts of the day, are the volunteers.
"The best volunteer I say we have is someone that makes a friend with one of our athletes and assures that they get to all three of their competitions and they're there on time...somebody that just spends the say with them and just makes them feel special," said Williams.
And Dary has a set of those volunteers, his grandparents.
"I'm pretty sure my grandparents will be watching this anyway, but this will be awesome!" said McIntyre.
Williams says you can volunteer by showing up, or calling her office at (573) 339-6733.
She says there will be a meet in Poplar Bluff April 9th. And says the state level games will be in Springfield in May.