Special Olympics, Six Flags team up for Coaster Challenge
Six Flags Great America and Special Olympics Illinois have teamed up for the Coaster Challenge Saturday, Sept. 18.
Here's how it works: Participants complete registration for $25, then choose the distance they want to travel on Six Flags Great America's roller coasters. Options include the equivalent of a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon.
Registration is open at www.coasterchallenge.com.
This year's Coaster Challenge Ambassadors are MJ and Carter, a Unified Pair (a Special Olympics Illinois athlete with an intellectual disability and a peer partner without an intellectual disability).
MJ, of Naperville, has been involved with Special Olympics since he started his freshman year of high school two and a half years ago. He hopes that he and Carter can continue their quest of creating, constructing, and building a more unified, inclusive, interconnected and strong school that he envisioned.
His favorite moments of being involved in Unified programming were the opportunities to go to many places with friends outside of school. He also loves the many opportunities he has been afforded that have helped with his public speaking and self-advocacy.
Carter, also of Naperville, has been around Special Olympics for about five years. He has been a Unified Partner for three years now, and his sister was a Unified Partner before him. Carter first got involved with Unified Champion Schools two years ago when he attended the Youth Activation Summit. He competes in Unified track and field and basketball, and participates in Unified fitness. He also helps with swimming.
His favorite memory is taking bus rides to away basketball games and listening to music with his teammates as they got hyped up for games. Aside from Special Olympics, Carter spends a majority of his time playing video games or working as a car detailer at a nearby car wash.
Throughout the pandemic, Carter wasn't able to ride roller coasters, so he looks forward to both the opportunity to ride at Six Flags Great America and to his and MJ's reactions on the coasters.
Those participating will receive early entry to the park. Challenge participants will get VIP access to ride Raging Bull, Maxx Force, Viper, and Whizzer from 9-11 a.m. VIP early entry allows participants to get extra laps in before the park opens. All participants will receive a "The Flash" Pass to all roller coasters until 1 p.m.
Coaster Challenge participants can choose from four different fundraising levels. Each level corresponds to a required fundraising minimum per participant.
• 5K = $150 fundraising minimum
• 10K = $300 fundraising minimum
• Half Marathon = $500 fundraising minimum
• Marathon = $1,000 fundraising minimum
Participants will have their scorecard stamped as they exit each ride, and the total distance will be tallied when they check in at the scoring table, upon completion.
Once participants have completed their riding distance, medals will be awarded, and participants can feel free to stay and enjoy the park. Participants will receive additional fundraising benefits with each increment achieved.
Special Olympics Illinois thanks Six Flags Great America, Jewel-Osco, B96 Chicago, Shaw Media, and 102.3 WXLC for sponsoring this event.
For more information, please visit www.coasterchallenge.com.
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit sports organization offering year-round training and competition in 18 sports for more than 23,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities and over 13,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities.
It strives to be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development. Anyone interested in being a part of Special Olympics Illinois can contact their local region, call (800) 394-0562 or visit www.soill.org. Follow Special Olympics Illinois on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.