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Middlebury students gear up for big race - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Middlebury students gear up for big race

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -

Students from a special education program in Middlebury have a special motto, "where there's a will there's a way."

The running club at the Diversified Occupation Program in Middlebury is gearing up for the big race.

"At the end of every race or practice, no one leaves until the last runner comes in," said Lain Hoefle, teacher.

For the second year in a row, the students at the alternative school for special education are participating in a 5K.

For 18-year-old Dan Briggs who has Spina Bifida, this was a dream no one ever thought possible. Dan has very little leg strength and struggled with even walking.

"I am ready for Sunday," said Dan.

"So when this program came along and he expressed desire to be in a running club, I was a little dumb founded, I wondered how. So when they came up with this jogger idea, I was thrilled," said Kathy Briggs, Dan's mother.

The students refusing to let their teammate and friend sit on the sidelines.

"Dan is the best student I've ever met," said Phillip Charles Jerome, runner.

The running club got supply donations from the community to build Dan his very own jogger.

"I'm just thankful for him to be able to come in and do this as well," said Devin Lavoie, runner.

"We always take turns on pushing Dan, even if there's a big hill, we do double ups," said Clifford Bell, runner.

Dan's mom says this kind of team work has helped Dan with his social and developmental skills.

"He has more self-confidence, and a desire to go places, want to do things and be part of a team," said Briggs.

Friday, the running club laced up their sneakers for one final practice.

And Dan decided to switch things up a bit.

Reporter Shelby Cashman: How fast are we ‘gonna go?

Dan/Students: 90 miles an hour!

Cashman: Dan says we're going 90

But for the students, it's not their speed that matters.

"It's no win or lose just have fun," said Jerome.

It's about crossing the finish line together.

If you want to see Dan and the running club cross the finish line it starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday beginning and ending at Charlotte Central School.

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