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Princeton Runner Inspires West Milford Special Olympic Athletes

Athletes with the West Milford Special Olympics met with Kyle Lang during his journey across the U.S. . Photo Credit: Facebook: Special Olympics New Jersey
Athletes with the West Milford Special Olympics ran with Kyle Lang. Photo Credit: Kristi Clave
Lang inspired the athletes. Photo Credit: Kristi Clave

WEST MILFORD, N.J. – A trio of athletes with the West Milford Special Olympics joined a Princeton University student on a portion of his run across the United States Friday.

“I was very proud of my runners, but I’m more so happy that they go to meet such a great role model,” said Kristi Clave, head coach for the West Milford Special Olympics.

Her runners – Heather Gerety, Destiny Gerety and Mike McCloskey – ran alongside Kyle Lang on Route 46 in Rockaway.

Lang, a Wisconsin native, started his journey in Washington State and will be ending it in Coney Island on Saturday. He decided to run nearly 3,000 miles to raise money for three charities close to his heart: The New Jersey Special Olympics, Great Rivers United Way, and Every Hand Joined.

On his website – – Lang says the journey is “a way to use my love of running for good – for the betterment of others. It is a way to make this passion of mine about more than just becoming faster and stronger.”

Lang has been running since he was a child, but has recently come to a realization, he wrote.

“I am learning that maybe the ‘best runner’ I committed to becoming at a young age is not the fastest or the strongest or the one who puts in the most miles. Maybe the best runner Kyle Lang can be is one who runs for others,” he wrote on his website.

Clave said she wrote to Lang’s father to tell him what an “incredible” son he has raised.

When the West Milford Special Olympic athletes returned from running with Lang, Clave said they said “he was asking them all about their interests.”

And one of the West Milford athletes, Mike, “is already talking about setting some running goals for the year to up his distance for our track season.”

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