Two Special Olympics Indiana Ripley-Ohio-Dearborn County athletes fulfilled a major goal recently when they completed the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis.

Isaac Kramer and Luke Horstman completed the 13.1 miles alongside their support runner, Cassie Masters.

For Kramer, the mini-marathon was a lifetime dream. His first running event was the Indianapolis 500 Kiddie Run at age 3.

“It was something I wanted to accomplish,” Kramer said. “I do want to run a full marathon, but I’m a little nervous about that. I am going to more half-marathons first.”

Horstman and Masters came to running as adults and recently began stretching their routines to train for longer races. Horstman ran in middle school but stopped before returning to the sport with Special Olympics Indiana.

Kramer completed the course in 2:28.33 with Horstman at 2:28.35 and Masters at 2:32.32. This race marked the longest and fastest Masters had ever run.

After childhoods marked with loneliness and isolation, Special Olympics Indiana has provided both Isaac and Luke with the opportunity to build friendships, said Yvonda Kramer, Isaac’s mother. These friendships continue past a sport-specific season and provide ongoing social opportunities.

When Isaac began Special Olympics in 2018 as an eighth grader, his earliest track practices included him pulling a hoodie tight over his head and consistent attempts to leave. As he found acceptance, support and love from coaches and fellow athletes, Yvonda Kramer said, he began to grow as an individual and build the confidence necessary to develop social skills and the physical skills to eventually run a mini-marathon.

“He now demonstrates leadership skills within his track team, seeks out others and talks with them,” Yvonda Kramer said. “He is much more communicative and helps others who are going through that stage where they need strong initial support.”

Kramer and Horstman are now preparing for the 2024 Summer Games in Terre Haute. Kramer will compete in the 200-meter run, the mini javelin and the long jump. Horstman is scheduled to take part in the 400, 1,500 and the mini-javelin.

Learn more about the 2024 Summer Games and sign up to be a volunteer here.