INDIANAPOLIS -- Each Wednesday, a group of people gather at the War Memorial in downtown Indianapolis for a free fitness class. All across the world these group workouts take place on different days. They are called the "November Project" or “Tribes”.
Jason Shaw heads up the local Indianapolis Tribe which was one of the first ten in the United States. The group has grown so much over the last year they now have added a Friday class that moves to different outdoor locations all across the city.
Andrew Peterson joined the November Project about six months ago after group members volunteered at a Special Olympics event.
Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, Andrew is a Special Olympic athlete who has been given the gift of running. Not only does Andrew run, he runs fast, really fast. He has the fitness, stamina, and speed to be an elite runner, but, according to his dad, he has had a tough time getting groups to accept him and train with him. Because of his disability, he needs someone to push him and guide him through runs called a pacer.
This Saturday. he will attempt to finish the Monumental Marathon in about three hours to qualify for the Boston Marathon. If he does, he will be only the second Special Olympic athlete EVER to qualify for Boston based upon time alone and the first in 30 years. There is a category for runners with disabilities but Andrew’s goal is to qualify with time alone.
His goal took a major hit a few weeks ago as the 3-hour normal pacer for the Monumental Marathon had to drop out of the race, leaving Andrew unable to run. The odds of finding a pacer to run with Andrew with such little time was a monumental task. Statistically only 0.5 percent of the U.S. population have ever run a marathon. Of that half percent, only 2 percent can run one in under three hours.
No one in the local tribe could run a marathon that quick so Jason Shaw sent a message to fellow November Project tribes across the country to see if there was anyone who could run that far, that fast and was available that day.
Despite the small odds, a fellow tribemate from Madison, Wisconsin, Justin Dyszelski, an ultra-marathoner, offered to drive down and pace Andrew. So this Saturday, Justin and Andrew, two strangers united by a global fitness movement will run together through the streets of Indianapolis step by step, turn by burn together to achieve the goal of qualifying for the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the most prestigious in the world.