Jenny Murray (right) with her coach Amanda and sister Kelly at the 2018 Melissa Road Race
Another year, another personal best for Jenny Murray who recently completed the 2018 Melissa Road Race.
The Melissa Road Race, described as the “perfect mix of fun, fitness, and serene mountain beauty,” is a 5k, 10k, and 21k run through the picturesque streets of Banff.
Jenny ran with her older sister, Kelly and her SOA-Edmonton snowshoe coach Amanda Trenchard, who Jenny stated are great running partners, adding that they always help her push through any obstacle.
Running for her third straight year, Jenny was able to overcome the snowy weather on the day and complete the 5k with her fastest time yet, which earned her third place in her age category.
“THIS YEAR WAS THE WORST WEATHER, SO I GUESS I’M GETTING USED TO IT,” SAID JENNY. “THIS TRAINING HELPS BECAUSE THIS YEAR I RAN MY FASTEST 5K (26 MINUTES AND 26 SECONDS).”
Eli Bernard racing at the 2018 SOA-Edmonton Track Meet
Whatever the weather you can always find Eli Bernard enjoying another day playing the sports he loves.
His passion for competition and commitment to improving his skills earned him a spot on Team Alberta where he competed at the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Vegreville is home to Eli Bernard who made his National games debut in athletics, competing in the 50m dash, standing long jump, and shot put.
Eli is just 24-years-old and has been competing with Special Olympics Alberta – Vegreville for seven years now. This was his first selection to Team Alberta and Eli was grateful for the opportunity.
Chantal Payne racing in Medicine Hat
Achieving excellence in sport is no easy task, but Chantal Payne is the definition of an athlete who continues to push their game to the next level.
27-year-old Chantal Payne has been involved with Special Olympics for 15 years competing in both curling and athletics.
She has committed to these two sports because of the family environment they provide, the ability to meet new friends, and the comradery between teammates.
Since starting with Special Olympics in 2003, Chantal has always been an athlete who is willing to work hard and learn in order to grow as an athlete.
“I think Special Olympics has helped me be able to make friends and be able to try my best in sports,” said Chantal. “It has helped my maturity level by meeting people and traveling to events.”
Leonka Kaluha – photo via Marilyn Ritchie
“I used to have very low self-esteem from being bullied in school and would walk with my head down. I hated myself because I had a disability and always felt judged. Joining Special Olympics slowly changed how I felt and thought about myself. I was encouraged, never judged or given up on. I was allowed to be me, without having to hide my disability, rather be given [a chance] to show my abilities.” – Special Olympics Alberta athlete, Leonka Kaluha
Throughout her life, Leonka Kaluha has battled adversity in the form of bullying and judgment – simply for being herself.
Despite these hardships, she continues to challenge herself to be the best she can be and getting involved with Special Olympics was her first step.
“[Special Olympics has taught me] to be strong, stand tall, how to be part of a team, be proud of who I am and know that no matter what as long as you give your best effort that is all that is required,” said Leonka.