The Advancement Center is extremely proud to announce Andrew Peterson as the honorary 2017 Great North Run race starter.
Andrew is a Washington Township Special Olympic runner. His accomplishments as a three time gold medal-winner of the 1500, 3000, and 5000 in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games and 2015 Indiana Athlete of the Year is pedigree enough for the honor. However, his story and achievements are so much greater.
When Andrew was 5 he and his three siblings were adopted by his father Craig Peterson. Ignoring the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Craig encouraged Andrew to run his first 3K at the age of nine. This experience ignited a passion for running and a desire to see what was possible despite his disability.
In middle school, Andrew became the second fastest runner on his cross country team. He ran despite concerns that the supervision he required would make it difficult to participate. But participate he did, and as he grew his running career continued to flourish.
In 2011, Andrew joined Washington Township Special Olympics. To date, his running career has led to 50+ gold medals in state competitions, and the completion of 4 half marathons, plus two full marathons. While Andrew excels on the track, his primary accomplishment is being an exemplary teammate. He constantly encourages his fellow athletes to excel in both training and competition. Andrew personifies his message of excellence in both words and actions. While participating in the 2013 State Games he gave two of his metals to teammates who did not place in their own events.
Andrew is the first Special Olympics Indiana Washington Township athlete to participate in the Athlete Leadership Program. As a representative of the IHSAA and Special Olympics, he has shared his motivational story to athletes and families at over 80 Indiana high schools. Andrew has been initiated into the Sigma Chi Fraternity as a non-college student, helping the fraternity with its philanthropic involvement in Special Olympics. He has used his platform to lead and participated in events to raise money for various charities. In 2015 Andrew had the opportunity to meet President Obama and highlight the potential of athletes everywhere. He takes incredible pride in sharing his story of an athlete with disabilities.
We feel Andrew’s greatest community work is with the children at Greenbriar Elementary School! The current principal, Jaimie Alexander was Andrew’s 1st grade special needs teacher and convinced Andrew to help coach the Greenbriar Running Club. In his spare time he also helps out in a Greenbriar kindergarten classroom.
Andrew’s accomplishments continue to offer hope of what is possible for all athletes. We are thrilled to have him here with us at the Great North Run on March 11th. Register today to join Andrew and our Superintendent of Schools Dr. Woodson at the starting line of the 2017 Great North Run!