Rankin Grade Schooler runs for more than just first place

By WEEK Reporter

May 12, 2013 Updated May 13, 2013 at 2:55 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- The Illinois Elementary School Association State Track Meet was held this weekend at EastSide Centre.

Rankin Grade School's Hannah Harms didn't qualify for State, but for her it's about much more than winning a race.

Hannah isn't the fastest girl on her 6th grade track team. However, that's okay because Hannah has Cerebral Palsy, and just being on the team is a victory.

"Some of the girls in her classroom asked her if she was going to go out for track and she came home and instantly said her friends wanted her to do track and I said okay, I'll call the school," said Natasha Jones, Hannah's mom.

"When her mother called me asking about Hannah being on track, I thought it was a great idea because track is on of those sports where you can go at your own pace," said Coach DeeAnna Guerra.

Hannah competed in her first meet last month and as she ran towards the finish line her mom had to hold back the tears.

"Just seeing her and the crowd was cheering for her. As she was running I saw it was difficult for her but she just kept going and she had a smile on her face the whole entire run and she was proud of herself," she said.

Hannah is a sprinter running mostly the 100 meter dash but she doesn't run alone. Before every one of her races, Hannah's teammates argue to see who will be by her side.

"Everybody wants to run with Hannah and help support her. So it's really nice that the girls all encourage her," said Jones.

Baily Ogden is one of the fastest girls on the team but she prefers to run with her best friend.

"We can only do four races, so I take some of my races out instead of leaving them to me I give them to her so I can run with her and spend time with her," said Ogden.

"It's a miracle actually, because I never thought that I would see this with her. Going out and running track with her friends and she is," said Jones.