Runners hit the pavement to support unified sports

Apr 30, 2022

They walked so the unified track program at Dartmouth High can continue to run.

Nearly 100 walkers came out to the high school Saturday morning to participate in the first annual 5K fundraiser to support Unified Sports, which pairs athletes with intellectual (and sometimes physical) disabilities on the same team with general education students.

The race began with a “unified lap” including some of the special ed athletes, before the official 5K took participants on the roads around the high school.

The event was set up by Theresa Street, a nonprofit established in 2020 by Dartmouth High alums which aims to raise “money, awareness, and mutual aid for organizations doing meaningful and measurable work in the South Coast.”

The group was formed in 2008 during wiffle ball tournaments co-founder Ray Paul Biron hosted in his backyard on Theresa Street — the nonprofit’s namesake. At the time, it was a way the then-middle schoolers could try to bring their neighborhood together — a mantra the group still lives by.

“Especially after these past two years,” organization director Sam Martins said.

The idea for the Saturday’s 5K came about late last year when fellow Theresa Street member Jeff Carreiro, an avid runner, suggested it as a way to raise money while runners could enjoy the spring weather.

“Plus 5Ks tend to be pretty successful,” Carreiro said.

He added that many in the organization “grew up” with the current coaches of the unified track team and felt it was the perfect cause to support.

“We know where it’s all going,” Carreiro said. “And it’s just such a great program.”

Ashley Kocur-Pierpont, one of the unified track coaches,  noted that all funds raised from the 5K will go toward transportation and uniforms.

“Really everything for our kids,” she said.

Kocur-Pierpont added that so far, it’s been a successful spring season for the unified track team — even though there have been a couple of weather-related cancellations.

“The kids are just having a great time,” she said. “They don’t care if they win or lose — it’s just about having a great time.”

The next unified track race is scheduled for Monday, May 2 at the Dartmouth High Track.