A brilliant day was had by all on Sunday 3rd May at the Special Olympics GB Unified Mile as part of the Vitality Westminster Mile. 

More than 100 athletes, volunteers, partners, National Office staff, friends, family, loved ones and supporters took to the streets of London to take on the magnificent one-mile course which started on The Mall and finished in front of Buckingham Palace. 

Back after a two-year absence due to Covid-19, it was brilliant to see so many smiling faces – especially our athletes - walking, running, wheeling and skipping their way over the spectacular course.

As part of the Special Olympics GB Unified Mile people could also enjoy the all-day Vitality Wellness Festival in Green Park which was packed with free family-friendly activities as well as a Special Olympics GB activation area that had all sorts of Special Olympics activities to try.  All of which proved to be a massive hit! From Young Athletes activities to penalty shoot outs and a boccia display, our activation zone was full of people enjoying themselves all day.    
Ian Harper, Chair of our Special Olympics GB Athlete Leadership Team summed up the day beautifully: “The Unified Mile was a joyous occasion. It was great to see the crowds cheering. It was great to see the athletes back out spreading the word of Special Olympics GB. Everyone could see we are a brand to be proud of.”

While Niall Guite, gold medal-winning basketball player turned cyclist and artist said: “It was a fast and furious day full of excitement. The day was pure joy.”

Special Olympics GB athlete Paul Taylor, from Bangor in North-West Wales was in total agreement, “I really enjoyed everything at the Unified Mile. What I liked about is that I saw my friends and met new people. I'm glad that I won a medal.”  

Another Special Olympics GB athlete who made a big journey to be there was Ashleigh Ryan from Special Olympics Norfolk who travelled all the way from Norwich to take part alongside her grandmother in what was their first Special Olympics GB Unified Mile, and they had a great time, as Ashleigh explains: “I loved it.  It was the best day.  I managed to get round the course slowly, walking, running and walking. I found it hard to get back into the running!” she laughs. 

But not only did Ashleigh make it round the course she even managed a sprint finish!   “I managed to find an urge to push onto the end.  I keep waking up and thinking, did I really just do that?”

Ashleigh, who is a huge fan of Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds, wanted to take part to offer motivation to others. “If I can put a smile on someone’s face or give a bit of motivation to someone else who hasn’t got the courage to sign up for something like this or join Special Olympics GB then I’m happy.”

Ashleigh was also delighted to run with Ben Jordan who at two years old, stole the show with his incredible effort as he walked the entire way with the help of his mum and sister. Ben was the final competitor to cross the finish line and his inspirational walk was just the perfect way to finish a fantastic day and a perfect example of inclusion in action.

 Huge congratulations and thank you to everyone who took part, supported or donated!