“Life is short and not guaranteed, so if you can help others and make a difference in their lives along the way than why not make an effort to do so,” says 26-year old Andrew Durdin of Baton Rouge, LA. By October 1, 2012, Durdin plans to raise $1,000 for the Special Olympics, as a part of the Chicago Marathon Charity Team. His athletic journey brought him to the Marathon, but his younger sister with Down syndrome, Mandy, inspired him to take on the cause.
Durdin’s path to this point starts toward the end of his college years. After being a passionate runner for many years he wanted to challenge himself and test his endurance by becoming involved in the sport of triathlon. By the end of 2011, Durdin completed five triathlons, two of them being half Ironmans. He also became one of the first Louisiana triathletes to be a part of Team Red, White and Blue. Through his commitment and dedication to Team RWB’s mission to “enrich the lives of wounded veterans and their families,” he is able to promote and raise awareness for these veterans. Through this, the RWB community has been able to grow in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Alexandria.
Following the 2011 season, Durdin set his sights on completing a Full Ironman. Though to achieve this goal, he knew that meant he would have to start running marathons. To describe his marathon training, he says, “although at times BRUTAL, [it] has only strengthened my love for running.”
When Durdin signed up for the Chicago Marathon, he decided to conquer two more goals. Through his training he hopes to achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time. He also strives to give back to the organization that gives people like his sister a sense of hope and accomplishment, the Special Olympics.
Durdin says growing up with a younger sister with Down syndrome has made him the person he is today. “Seeing her not be able to do most things in life that we tend to take for granted is truly sad. Especially when she always has a smile on her face and brings one out of everyone around her.” She loves music, having her nails painted, and enjoys sports, but due to her disability there is not much she can do without supervision.
The Special Olympics host sporting events that allow people with disabilities to have a chance to achieve their goals and feel that sense of accomplishment, all while having fun. These experiences are sometimes hard to come by in the lives of those with Down syndrome. The Special Olympics makes an influential impact, so important and cherished by people like Durdin’s sister Mandy.
As the Chicago Marathon grows closer, Durdin will continue to support the Special Olympics cause in honor of his sister and those like her. He asks that the Run Louisiana community support him in his mission to raise $1,000. He believes “there are a lot of kind and strong hearted people of LA that would be willing to help me. Especially those that share the same passion for running and endurance as I do.”
Durdin will run the Chicago Marathon October 7, 2012. If you would like to donate to his cause visit his fundraising page by clicking here.