Columbia - Like many Show-Me State Games athletes, Beau Claridge has a goal. But it has little to do with personal glory. And, to him, it doesn’t matter that he hasn’t practiced track and field since high school.
“I want to raise awareness,” Claridge said. “And, I want to give back to the community. I used to volunteer a lot more than I do now, so I thought to myself, ‘Wow, what am I not doing?’ So, I decided to get involved.”
Claridge competed in 13 Show-Me State Games track and field events Saturday and Sunday at Audrey J. Walton Stadium on the MU campus.
The Jefferson City native is gathering donations to benefit the Special Olympics Missouri, many based on the number of medals he wins. Claridge has set a goal of $25,000.
“I’d really like to raise enough money to provide the Special Olympics with all of its medals,” he said. “The cost is about that much, and I think it’s possible to get there.”
Claridge volunteered at the Special Olympics in June and said that the experience only further cemented his determination to give back.
“(The athletes) truely inspire me,” he said. “I worked with the low-motor kids, and they just love being out there. They really enjoy competing. And, even if it’s a softball toss, it’s the joy in doing that is what matters.”
Claridge trained for five months in order to prepare for all of his events. He worked out six days a week, running at 5 a.m., lifting weights and practicing back-to-back events to improve endurance.
All donations are welcome, according to Claridge, no matter how small.
Claridge finished within the top three in nearly all of his events, winning the 200-, 400- and 1500-meter races in his division. He also competed in the short and long hurdles, 100 and 800 meters, javelin, hammer throw, high jump, triple jump, long jump and pole vault.
“Some people might be in trouble (because he did so well),” his mother Beth Claridge said.
To make a donation, visit www.somo.org/gobeau