A Special Olympics BC-Trail athlete has been doing his best to stay fit and focused in preparation for the Virtual Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) this week.
Since the pandemic started everything could easily have gone south for area athletes unable to compete. But Trail’s Jake Miller actually ramped up his program during the pandemic thanks to Special Olympic-BC’s (SOBC) online health and fitness program, and was eager to take up the Torch Run challenge.
“They are doing it virtual, so you go online and register with LETR, and there’s an App on your phone called Strava, and that keeps track of all your footsteps or running distance,” explained Jake’s mom and golf coach, Rhonda Chandler. “It’s for the whole week, from June 1 – 7, and all their proceeds go to Special Olympics.”
Like everything else, the Torch Run will look a little different this year. Rather than the Trail RCMP and Special Olympians meeting at Gyro Park and running as a group, individuals will carry the torch and log their daily distances on the automated app.
Jake ran almost 5 km on his first day, in addition to his Monday workout regime with SOBC, and is confident he can keep up the pace.
“It’s a great event,” said Jake. “I’ve been working hard every day, and it’s been fun doing all the workouts. I’ve lost four pounds.”
Jake is an active participant in SOBC-Trail athletics. A multi-sport athlete, Miller has competed in floor hockey, snow-shoeing, golf, bocce, and bowling at regional, provincial and national Special Olympic Games across the country, and what he has missed most during the pandemic is meeting up with his friends from SOBC-Trail.
Currently, all in-person Special Olympics BC sport programs and fundraising events are paused, in accordance with health guidance.
However, Jake, along with a number of SOBC athletes across the province, were able to keep fit and healthy through the intensive and fun online fitness and mental health program run by SOBC.
Its ‘Weekly wellness calendar’ offers a different daily workout, where SOBC athletes can follow along with fitness trainers, who film live from their living rooms and home gyms.
Each week contains different tasks and challenges like Motion-ball Mondays and Trainer Tuesday, as well as special features like culinary gems on Wellness Wednesday, an all-week-wellness Bingo Challenge, Food with Friends Fridays, a Saturday active alphabet, and Sunday Yoga classes.
In addition, SOBC hosts a “What’s on your mind?” FaceBook forum every Wednesday at 2 p.m., where athletes can log on and share comments and ask questions to special guests.
The program rolled out MoveItMarch, ActiveApril, MayInMotion, and now it is JumpIntoJune month, and has kept athletes, like Jake, engaged during a very difficult time.
“Jake Miller is an amazing Special Olympic BC athlete in Trail,” said BC Special Olympics communications manager Megan Pollock. “And he’s been doing absolutely awesome at his at-home training, he’s done every single challenge we’ve put out there. He’s gone above and beyond with lots of the extra bonus activities too.”
Jake was featured on a May-in-Motion online Zoom chat with Pollock, health coordinator Marlow DePaul, and nutritionist Joel Barohn, where they talked about a healthy diet, and the importance of staying active both physically and mentally.
Miller has set up a mini-gym in his living room, where he works out daily. He also keeps his golf game sharp by putting on the carpet and practices his short game in the back yard.
For Chandler, the activities and interaction with SOBC has been nothing short of phenomenal.
“He was really disappointed at first (with the pandemic) and not being able to see his friends,” said Chandler. “But this has been really amazing, and he has turned my living room into a gymnasium. He just works hard every day and loves it.”
Trail residents can support SOBC by donating to Jake Miller’s Law Enforcement Torch Run at specialolympics.ca/british-columbia/ways-give/law-enforcement-torch-run.