RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Racing in the Special Olympics track and field events is just like any other challenge. It's difficult and you really have to believe in yourself.
"The hardest part is keeping pace, through the whole race, because you start to get tired about halfway through the 400,” says Special Olympics athlete, Andrae Grace, 24. “I guess the only thing that keeps me going is my mind to--- mind over matter type of deal. "
Grace has been training every day for these summer games and faces other challenges on top of the race.
"I have a lot of comprehension issues, where like, I could read something but I don't get the whole story behind it at first, so i have to read through it a couple of times," he says
But with mind over matter and hard work, Grace's placed first in the male’s 200m race.
Grace is one of 300 athletes competing in the Nevada Special Olympics Summer Games. Fourteen of those athletes will move on to the Special Olympics Nationals in New Jersey.
"It’s really neat to see them because the struggle, they're trying so hard, and the determination,” says Matthew Resler, Special Olympics Executive Director for Nevada. “They do so well and it's so fun to see the excitement on their faces out here today. "
Resler says the Special Olympics program serves 3,000 athletes in the state, and as a parent of children with special needs himself, he's motivated to encourage athletes like Grace to succeed.
"The Special Olympics is really cool because the athletes, they want to excel just like everybody, and sometimes, there's not that outlet for them to do so. So we provide that for them.
The Special Olympics ends Sunday with the annual "Cops & Burgers" fundraiser from 11- 4pm at Victorian Plaza.
All are invited to enjoy a classic car show, law enforcement vehicles and fresh grill burgers for lunch.
All the proceeds will support Nevada Special Olympics athletes in training and sporting activities.
$16,000 was raised last year, and they're hoping to reach $20,000 tomorrow.