Local athletes with disabilities training in Natick thanks to program aimed at increasing participation

NATICK, MASS. (WHDH) - At a time when many local athletes are dealing with suspended athletic programs, two local paralympic athletes are getting an opportunity to push forward in Natick.

Adaptive Sports New England President Joe Walsh said the program is all part of an effort to provide area athletes with a chance to remain active amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is part of a regular series we’re organizing here to give the kids the opportunity a chance to be in a sports program every week,” Walsh said.

On Saturday morning, two central Massachusetts girls got to get acclimated to the sport of track at Natick High School alongside their coach, Katrina Gerhard, a paralympic athlete and Boston Marathon finisher.

“I get so much joy out of training others because I think when I first started, there weren’t a lot of people in Massachusetts who were doing it,” she said.

Lilly Michalowski, an incoming 9th grader from Holden, and Lilly Machalowski, a paraplegic athlete from Holden, were on the track on Saturday.

“I like training with other people because they help me like do things that I might not be able to do by myself that I don’t know how to do,” she said.

Lilly wants to join her high school track team next spring and hopes to participate in a marathon.

“Just having (Gerhard) come out here and train with me, having her take time out of her day.. it’s just amazing,” she said.

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