Emmett Abdo, a Philadelphia athlete was featured in SOAR’s 2019 edition. SOAR is the Special Olympics Athlete Review that gets published once a quarter by Special Olympics PA’s ALPS Coordinator. Emmett wrote an article titled Why I love Special Olympics.

Emmett shared his experiences with Special Olympics and how it shaped him to be the person and athlete he is today. He also gave readers what his next goals are. We’re rooting for you, Emmett! See below for his article. 

Why I love Special Olympics

Athlete, Emmett Abdo with TDY’s Bennett

Hi, my name is Emmett Abdo. I have been participating in Special Olympics for 17 years and have loved every moment of it! Swimming is my favorite sport; however, I also participate in soccer, tennis and basketball. Like many athletes, Special Olympics has helped me feel more confident and strive to do my very best in both sports and life. One example I’m proud of would be that it helped me get a job as a Bellhop at a Holiday Inn Express. Recently, I was asked to speak at the Leprechaun Run with my fellow Philly athletes Lisa Barbour and Charlie Zisette. For those that aren’t familiar, the Leprechaun Run is one of Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s fundraisers. Since I love speaking in front of large crowds, I decided that I wanted to be trained as a Global Messenger. As an athlete, I feel it’s important that not only I share with others what Special Olympics has meant for me, but also explain to others how they can help make a difference in  the lives of myself and the 20,000 other athletes throughout Pennsylvania.

My next biggest goal is to qualify for the 2022 USA Games in Orlando. Additionally, once I am trained as a Global Messenger, I would also like to be able to co-emcee Opening Ceremonies at Fall Festival.

I always enjoy telling others that just a little bit of their time or money can go a long way towards making a difference!

Emmett Abdo is an athlete in Philadelphia County and has been participating in Special Olympics for 17 years. Outside of Special Olympics, Emmett enjoys watching American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars as well as going to Reading Terminal Market.

athletes, If you would like to be featured in an upcoming edition of SOAR:

Share Your Story: If you would like to share a story on Summer Games, World Games or any other recent Special Olympics experiences, please e-mail Jordan Schubert at jschubert@specialolympicspa.org

Special Olympics PA – Philadelphia held their 33rd Annual Leprechaun Run presented by TMNA Services on Saturday, March 10th at Schuylkill Banks Palapa. It was a chilly morning – starting around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, making it feel like a winter day rather than an almost-spring day. Over 700 participants participated in either the Lucky 7-Mile Race, Classic 5-Mile Race, or 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. The event opened with welcoming remarks from the co-emcees athlete, Emmett Abdo and Today’s 96.5 host, Bennett, along with a performance by Celtic Flame School of Irish Dance. Before the race kicked off, Abdo led the crowd in the athlete oath of, “Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Participants were then on their way to complete one of the first races of the season. As participants finished, they munched on snacks and waited for the results. 

Before the event, the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) hosted their annual Pre-Leprechaun Run Happy Hour on Thursday, March 8th at Fette Sau in Fishtown. The warm and welcoming atmosphere inside was the perfect contrast to the chilly March evening outside, which attracted a large number of Fishtown Runners as well as the general public. In no time, the restaurant was a full house. During the event, participants/ enjoyed extended happy hour specials ranging from a variety of craft beers and hard cider to smoked chicken legs and brisket sandwiches. Guests had the opportunity to enter some exciting raffles, including an autographed Nick Foles framed photograph, and try their luck at the inaugural “Beer Toss” thanks to donations from local vendors and YPC members!  As conversation centered on weekend plans and the upcoming Leprechaun Run, the attention was brought to the center of the bar when raffles were pulled. Overall, the event was a great success for YPC and Special Olympics Philadelphia. Thank you to all participants and donors!

Join the social conversation on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to use #LeprechaunRun


View all photos here



Click here to view results. Please note, the link takes you to the Lucky 7-Mile Race results. 

Thank you to our 2018 Leprechaun Run Sponsors!

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A Chilly Leprechaun Run Warms Hearts of Special Olympics Pennsylvania Philadelphia athletes and participants. The 2017 Leprechaun Run presented by TMNA Services was held on Saturday, March 11th at MLK Drive starting by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As runners arrived, the temperature was already a chilly 20 degrees. The cold weather didn’t stop over 750 participants from coming out to partake in this St. Patrick’s Day tradition. 

The program before the race was kicked off by the Celtic Flame School of Irish who performed a traditional Irish dance for spectators. After a few short words from the Director of Special Olympics PA, Philadelphia, Britt Kleine, and VP of Development for Special Olympics PA, Eric Cushing, the running portion was about to start! The Lucky 7-Mile Race launched for the first time as it started alongside the Classic 5-Mile Race. Shortly after our racers took the course, our 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk participants headed for the course. As our Leprechaun Chasers finished, they were greeted by warm Philadelphia Pretzel Factory pretzels, Bai beverages, bananas, and water. After all the numbers were added up, the 2017 Leprechaun Run raised close to $40,000 for athletes right here in Philadelphia!

Thank you to all of our participants who attended this year’s race – we can’t wait to see you next year! HUGE thank you to all of our volunteers who made this race run smoothly; we hope to see you at more of our events! 

Award Winners

Lucky 7-Mile Race
  Female   Male  
  Name Time Name Time
Overall 1st Kimberly Hoffman :49:22 Brian Elliot :40:04
Overall 2nd Samantha Snyder :52:10 Connell McCall :41:20
Overall 3rd Jackie McGonigle :53:47 David Berger :41:55
13 and Under        
14-19 Caroline Sindoni :52.01 Jimmy Canuso :44:39
20-29 Sarah Deck :53:54 Steven Burkholder :54:02
30-39 Deanne Bernard :57:03 Parker Kitterman :45:26
40-49 Nicole Blum :57:04 Pat Cavalieri :49:29
50-59 Angela Scharschan 1:06:27 Joseph Manion :48:11
60+ Pamela Pfister 1:08:26 Andy Green :49:48
Classic 5-Mile Race
  Female   Male  
Overall 1st Taylor Smucker :36:26 Tom O’Leary :31:44
Overall 2nd Dianna O’Hara :39:23 Neil Somers :32:39
Overall 3rd Kat Cavitti :39:46 TJ Martin :32:43
13 and Under Ava Gaspari 1:00:20 Jakob Riz :40:14
14-19 Caritlyn Clark :43:18 Peter Dolan :46:39
20-29 Amy Schurer :40:48 Bryan Herbst :30:25
30-39 Krystina Faillace :40:23 Matt McCartan :34:10
40-49 Susanna Simer :40:23 Jason Kitchen :33:49
50-59 Maria Francomacaro :47:22 Bill Hennegan :34:30
60+ N/A   Tony Wojciechowski :43:47

* Participants are eligible to win one award

All Results


Thank you to our 2017 Leprechaun Run Sponsors!

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Runners in the 5 Mile Race make the Leprechaun Run a Wet Success!

The Leprechaun Run a Wet Success!

Leprechaun Run a Wet Success! It couldn’t have been any wetter for the 30th Annual Leprechaun Run, but over 500 runners and walkers braved the rain to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Philadelphia. The Leprechaun Run was held on Saturday, March 14th adjacent to the Philadelphia Art Museum and Paine’s Park. 

Prior to the race, managers from the Ambler, Langhorne and Philadelphia branches of Sam’s Club presented a check to Special Olympics Pennsylvania from their fundraising efforts equaling more than $200,000!  Following the Sam’s Club’s check presentation, participants were welcomed by Philadelphia athlete Lisa Barbour, who thanked participants for coming and led the crowd in reciting the Athlete Oath.   Lisa kicked off the race and off they went!

Langhorne and Philadelphia branches of Sam’s Club present Special Olympics Pennsylvania a check for $200,000

The Leprechaun Run concluded with the presentation of awards to the top overall finishers and the top male and female in various age categories.  Everyone left wet and with a smile on their face as they said farewell to the 30th annual Leprechaun Run.  

Click here to view event photos courtesy of TriState Media Productions.

Click here to view the results for the 5 Mile Race.