Athletes with special needs receive new sneakers ahead of 5K – NBC 6 South Florida

Runners say they’re as good and fast as their sneakers, but that won’t be a problem for a group of more than 50 student-athletes with special needs at American Senior High School in Hialeah.

The AP Runners (American Patriots) have received brand new sneakers as they prepare for their next big race, the Superintendent’s 5K Challenge.

Their coach Annie Perez, who also founded the band, says the right shoe makes all the difference.

“These kids have shown incredible fitness, commitment and responsibility,” she said.

The shoes were donated by Life Time, a health club operator with locations nationwide, including right here in Miami.

“I really appreciate teachers like Annie for giving as much as they give and getting creative with things like exercise and things that are a little bit harder to do,” said Frankie Ruiz of Life Time Miami. “When I run with these kids, seeing them smile and sweat at the same time is a great thing.”

The group of runners participated in the Kids Miami Marathon earlier this year. On Tuesday, they celebrated their speed and agility alongside their general education peers.

“All the students involved in this project love it,” said school principal Stephen Papp.

They ran, danced and got their new shoes days before another big race.

“I’m super excited that the kids are celebrated on a level where they’re respected in the community and the school and their peers,” Perez said.

She added that it takes a village to make the team a success.

“Without the support of my administration, the teachers, the counselors, the student body, everyone in this building…this program wouldn’t be what it is,” she said.

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