Josh Norris is headed to the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, March 14-21. Family, friends and supporters gathered Monday at the 622 North Restaurant in Blacksburg to wish him luck.
He will run the half marathon and 10,000m at the World Games. Norris has been involved in Special Olympics since middle school and quickly found a love for –and was a natural at –distance running.
Norris ran high school indoor and outdoor track and cross country, lettering in all three. He’s completed eight marathons and numerous half-marathons, consistently finishing in the top one to five percent of runners.
Team Virginia joins Special Olympics USA, which is comprised of 215 athletes, 65 coaches and approximately 34 delegation members who support team operations. Team members will compete in 18 of the 24 sports offered: athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics –artistic, gymnastics –rhythmic, open water swimming, powerlifting, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, triathlon, and volleyball.
The 28-year-old Norris’ many accomplishments also are a result of his determination and motivation. He trains consistently throughout the year, participating in races and taking part in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the past eight years. When Josh has set his mind to something, he never quits and is determined to do the best he can.
In addition, Ron Manilla will attend as a tennis coach as well as five Special Olympics Virginia staff members: Dave Pawlowski, medical team; Ellen Head, sports manager for gymnastics; Daniel Leake, technical delegate for volleyball; Nancy Morehouse, Unified Sports® delegate; and David Thomason, who’ll be assisting with Global Messengers.