Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) hosted Pittsburgh’s first UNcathlon on Sunday, April 9th at Schenley Park. The UNcathlon offered 11 events, one more than the traditional 10 found in a decathlon, and featured exercise challenges with fundraising accounting for the 11th challenge. The event brought persons with and without intellectual disabilities together in Unified Sports to benefit nearly 20,000 Special Olympics athletes and raised more than $65,000 with 15 participating teams.
The UNcathlon involved several co-ed teams of five participants plus a Special Olympics athlete. Each team took part in 10 trials that tested speed, strength and endurance. Challenge events included pull ups, shot put, dips, the 40-yard dash, 400 meter run, 800 meter run, 20-yard shuttle run, long jump, 500 meter row, and a team work round. The 11th event served as the fundraising component that participants completed prior to the event.
The UNcathlon was initiated by Pittsburgh resident Shannon Barry, a cancer survivor who had always dreamed of creating a national awareness fundraising campaign to bring recognition to a cause. Barry invited people from his network to accompany him on this journey, and they became members of the SOPA UNcathlon Founders Council, the group accredited with launching the event and conducting the behind-the-scenes work to make the UNcathlon a success.
Presenting Sponsors for the UNcathlon include Aerotek and Morgan Stanley. In addition, the event’s Creative Partner is Six19, the Public Relations Partner is Healthy Fit PR, and the Training Partner is New Balance.