Annual 5k raises funds for Kamiak’s Unified Special Olympics teams

More than 100 racers braved the bad weather to support the program
By Brandon Gustafson | May 02, 2018
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson Organizers and members of the Kamiak Unified Special Olympics team pose for a photo after participating in the sixth Annual UKnight for Special Olympics 5k Fun Run/Walk.

Despite rain, wind, and typical springtime Washington weather, members of the Kamiak community got their exercise in and helped raise money at Kamiak’s Annual UKnight for Special Olympics 5k Fun Run/Walk.

The racers included Kamiak Unified Special Olympics athletes, Kamiak students, parents, young children, and a few dogs, who ran a makeshift course around the Kamiak campus two times before running half a lap around the track.

According to Hailey Mukai, a senior at Kamiak who helped organize the run, this was the sixth annual 5k run.

She also said more than 100 runners took part in the run, and the money raised from the annual 5k goes toward the Unified Special Olympics teams at Kamiak.

“The number of participants was 130,” Mukai said. “We will not know the amount raised (until we know what) the cost of custodial and shirts came to. But an estimate would be $2,500.”

Mukai, who participates with Kamiak’s Unified Sports teams, says helping with Unified Special Olympics is very important to her.

“My personal reasoning for being so heavily involved in this is because the Unified Special Olympics has a very important part in my life,” Mukai said. “I am very involved in our Unified team. It is a very special organization that I believe everyone should know about.

“By organizing this event I was able to spread awareness about this organization to our community and raise money for our Unified team.”

Despite the less-than-ideal weather, participants and organizers had a great time, dancing and singing to music during and after the race.

Organizers showed their encouragement by shouting phrases like “You can do this” to racers through a microphone, and by creating a makeshift “tunnel” of people for runners to go through and exchange high-fives.

Georgia McClaskey, a special education teacher who also coaches Kamiak’s Special Olympics and Unified teams, said 30 members of her team participated.

“It’s part of the Special Olympics programs, but we run Unified programs here at Kamiak so that students with and without disabilities can compete together, so it’s 50/50, and they’re all treated auns equal athletes.”

McClaskey said the money raised will greatly help the Kamiak teams.

“It goes towards uniforms and transportation and just giving equal opportunities for students with and without disabilities to compete together,” McClaskey said. “It was $25, and if you signed up early enough, you got a T-shirt. But you also get the experience of coming together with the community and the Kamiak population and spreading awareness of the organization and something that’s becoming really big at Kamiak.”

McClaskey also recommended people in the community come to Kamiak Unified events in the future.

“Come see what Kamiak Unified is doing, and see how we embrace differences and show the Mukilteo community that we’re all equal,” McClaskey said. “That’s really what this is all about.”


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