By Sean Minnihan
In Southern California, the month of March brings many different things to a variety of people. The days begin to get longer, the weather is a bit warmer, students and teachers look forward to spring break; but in the case of Special Olympics Southern California athlete Adinan Schreck and his father Eberhard, March means the Los Angeles Marathon.
This Sunday, Adinan, 28, will join some 24,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 63 different countries in pursuit of conquering 26.2 miles from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. Special Olympics Southern California will once again take part in the Charity Challenge at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. #TeamSOSC is running to support the more than 32,250 athletes, with the goal to raise $20,000. As for Thursday, #TeamSOSC has raised just over $13,000. Join the team and support Adinan in his running of the LA Marathon. join his team HERE.
Adinan and his father, who reside in Woodland Hills, will embark on a journey of endurance and perseverance that is truly worthy of recognition. This won’t be Adinan’s first marathon, or his second, or even his third. Eberhard, 81, was happy to say this will be his 14th and Adinan’s 12th appearance, respectively.
The sole goal each year: Finish the marathon.
“We don’t even train,” Eberhard said. “We do it for the endurance.”
The spring also brings swimming season, which Adinan has competed in since he started with Special Olympics in 2003. Adinan has several top-3 finishes in multiple Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura regional competitions over the past several years in the 25-meter backstroke and freestyle events. His best events are with his team, which has won gold and silver medals in the 4×25-meter freestyle relay at the Ventura and Santa Clarita Valley competitions, respectively. At the 2017 Summer Games, he won the bronze in the 25-meter backstroke and placed fifth in the freestyle event.
Adinan, who has Down syndrome, started swimming at a very early age as his father figured, “let’s make the best of it.” Eberhard told the story of when his son was in a tiny, plastic kiddie pool.
“I dipped him completely under to find out if he would sneeze or cough, but none of that,” Eberhard said. “He was completely natural! Just like the porpoises and whales, he just held his breath the moment he was surrounded completely by water.”
It was clear that there was a connection between Adinan and the water that would surely blossom if given the opportunity and right encouragement. With the support of his family and coaches, Adinan has certainly taken full advantage of the resources offered through Special Olympics.
“The association with other [athletes], all that is important,” Eberhard said of his son’s involvement.
But swimming doesn’t stop with competitions.
Adinan and his father love to travel. They make a yearly trip to Berlin, Germany, where Eberhard and Adinan hop in a Jeep that they leave there in storage. From Germany, they then take grand treks across Europe, Africa, and Asia to explore the valleys, mountains, and waters of the continents as a learning experience about all things involving history, culture, and nature.
Adinan has spent the past several years trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records by attempting to swim in as many major bodies of water as possible. Taking photos along the way to record their travels, Adinan has swam in just about every major river, lake, and ocean imaginable; from the Rhine, Rhone, and Danube Rivers in Europe, the Dead Sea, Red Sea, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Middle East, to the Ganges River in India.
It is no surprise that someone who can complete a marathon would time and again prove that persistence, perseverance, and discipline are universal attributes to all athletes, and are certainly exemplified in what Adinan has accomplished in his life. A globe-trekker, he could quite literally run and swim to anywhere in the world with his experience and skill.
This Sunday will be the 33rd running of the L.A. Marathon, and to date there have been more than 540,000 official finishers since its inception back in 1986. For an athlete like Adinan Schreck, it’s just another walk in the park. Never deterred from his goals, he will once again make his way along 26.2 miles of pavement “from the Stadium to the Sea,” as the marathon’s tagline states, and continue to prove to himself, and to all, that anything is possible.
For more information on the Charity Challenge, visit SOSC.org/LAMarathon.