Posted by: sonewjersey | May 21, 2010

Guest Post – Robert Fredericks, an SONJ Athlete, shares his experiences!

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 Hi, my name is Robert Fredericks. I’m 29 years old. The sports I participate in are volleyball,  floor hockey, basketball, and track & field.

My first experience with Special Olympics was through the track and field program at my school when I was 6 years old.  Track and field is the sport that I’ve been participating in the longest thanks to Mrs. Felano who was my first ever coach. She was the one who talked my parents into letting me go to my first ever SONJ Summer Games in 1989 when I was only nine years old.  My first events were the 100 meter dash, 4×100 Relay, Softball Throw, and the Standing Long Jump. I made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and learned that I could do things that others kept telling me I couldn’t do.  I can’t believe that that was over 20 years ago.   Thank you, Coach Felano!!

I used to play individual sports such as bowling and basketball skills but changed to playing team sports starting with floor hockey in 1999 followed by team basketball and volleyball.

In 2005 I moved to my current track team who are the same athletes (and friends) that I play team sports with and the rest is history. I also started racing the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge  to help raise awareness for SONJ that same year.

This past year has been an exciting year. I got selected to the Team NJ track team along with one of my regular teammates and several other athletes from around NJ. I would have never made friends with the other athletes if it wasn’t for SONJ selecting us to be part of the track team that’s going to be representing NJ at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. In December I had the honor of being asked to run Law Enforcement Torch Run in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I travelled with two of my favorite law enforcement officers and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Now on to my experiences with the Team New Jersey track team!!!!

SONJ asked if we could run in the Jersey Shore Relay Marathon and without any hesitation we said yes.

So I started training to run further than I normally do by running longer distances everyday on my treadmill so I could be ready for the race that weekend. I’m currently up to almost five miles per day.

The day of the race was April 17th.

 It was cold and windy, and the sky was dark and looked like it was going to rain at any minute but thankfully the sun broke through just in time. The course went from Seaside Heights to the Asbury Park Convention Center. Christina, one of my Team New Jersey teammates, ran the first leg which was six miles long (she did an awesome job). Three student athletes from the Ridge High School Cross Country team in Basking Ridge ran the second, third, and fourth legs. I ran the anchor (last) leg with my teammate Christina (who had already run the first leg) for the last three miles from the Belmar Fishing Club to the Asbury Park Convention Center. The course was fairly straight and flat (except for the drawbridge that had to be crossed). The course was on the boardwalk along the beach which also made the course very scenic. It was cool to run along the ocean and hear and see the waves while running!

My friend Christina and I had so much fun that we want to team up to do it again next year. This year was the first time I’ve ever ran the Jersey Shore Relay Marathon at RunAPalooza. We finished the 26.2 mile course with a time of 3 hours 40 minutes and 39 seconds which put us in place #171 out of 459 teams. There was an expo along with a good pasta meal afterwards at the Asbury Park Convention Center. We all had a great time and can’t wait until next year!



Thanks Bobby for this great posting about your SONJ experiences!! Good luck to Bobby and all of our other Team NJ athletes, who are headed to Nebraska in 57 days!!  You can help support our team’s trip to the Nationals! Just visit: 



  1. Bobby is just the finest example of an Olympian. He has unstoppable spirit, integrity and a love of all sports. I wish him and all the other SONJ athletes great luck this summer! His coaches, now and in the past, should be so proud!

  2. Thank very much Debbie ! SONJ is the greatest !

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