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Special Needs Students Take on Hartford Marathon’s ‘Fit Kids’ Challenge

Several of the IEA students who completed the 'Fit Kids' challenge of the Hartford Marathon show off their medals. Submitted photo

Six students from West Hartford’s Intensive Education Academy logged a half-marathon distance, running the ‘Final Mile’ with students from throughout the area at Rentschler Field.

Several of the IEA students who completed the 'Fit Kids' challenge of the Hartford Marathon show off their medals. Submitted photo

Several of the IEA students who completed the ‘Fit Kids’ challenge of the Hartford Marathon show off their medals. Submitted photo

Submitted by Michelle Bonner

Six middle school students with special needs attending Intensive Education Academy (IEA) in West Hartford have reached an extraordinary goal of running a half marathon.

Over the course of five weeks the students ran 12 miles before, during or after school while taking part in the Hartford Marathon Foundation “Fit Kids in School” challenge which is designed to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle.

“What a wonderful program encouraging future marathon runners for lifelong fitness,” says Jill O’Donnell, Head of School at IEA. “This is a remarkable opportunity for our students to set goals as individuals and to work together as a team to achieve them.”

Students from around Connecticut accumulated 12 or 25 miles over a 5-week period and then came together for the culminating “Final Mile” run to complete their marathon (26.2 miles) or half marathon (13.1).

“It was awesome to see the sense of accomplishment our runners had after completing the final mile of a half marathon,” says Matthew Enright, IEA’s Physical Education teacher who initiated the program with his students.  “On the bus ride back to school they all talked about going for the marathon next year!”

Through assessment and development of individualized education programs, IEA’s nurturing environment encourages each child to reach their full potential. IEA provides programs for students diagnosed with: Autism, Developmental Delay, Dyslexia, Mild Emotional Disturbance, Intellectual Disability, Specific Learning Disability, Visual or Hearing Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Disabilities, and/or OHI-ADD/ADHD.

About Intensive Education Academy
Since 1971, the Intensive Education Academy (IEA), a nonprofit, State of Connecticut-approved special education facility, has helped students reach their full potential through a nurturing and individualized learning environment. IEA currently serves students ages 5-21 from 33 school districts in CT and western MA. For more information, visit ie-academy.org, or contact the school at 860.236.2049.

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