Charity Allen reached out her hand.
She felt nothing until Jennifer Macha grabbed it.
"Come on," Allen said. She ran beside Macha 25 meters in six seconds for the Wayne County Special Olympics for adults Wednesday at Eastern Wayne High School.
Members of Goldsboro Parks and Recreation, which hosted the event, called athletes -- including Allen -- from the stands to the football field for softball throws, 25-meter runs and wheelchair races.
Allen -- who has an intellectual disability -- ran the dash but only with Macha.
"She's familiar with me, and I'm familiar with her, so she wanted me beside her," Macha said.
Macha serves as a direct care educator for Skill Creations. She and Allenmet there 12 years ago.
So when Allen received first place in the run and pinned her ribbon on her shirt, she was eager for Macha to capture the moment in a photograph.
Macha said she arrived at Skill Creations, located at 2105 Royall Ave., in 2005 -- the same year Allen, 32, arrived at the physical therapy clinic. Macha said she left one year later to have a baby, but she returned in 2008 to reconnect with Allen.
"She has blossomed," Macha said. "She has been a ray of sunshine."
Skill Creations, Crossroads Support Services, Wayne Opportunity Center, Nova Behavioral Healthcare and O'Berry Neuro-Medical Center took athletes to the school's track where they held their agency's banner and were welcomed by cheers and clapping from fans.
Marcus Cox, a participant from Nova, carried the torch alongside Mayor Pro Tem Bevan Foster and ignited the flame to announce the games have begun.
James Brewington heard cheers from the staff at the O'Berry Center as he sat in his wheelchair and moved his feet 25 meters until he reached the cones.
"It's good for them. It's exercise," Regina Monk said. She has worked with Brewington for four years as a healthcare technician.
Danny Daniels, 62, is an athlete from Crossroads. He threw a softball along with other athletes, but he said his favorite sport at the Special Olympics is walking.
"I don't walk much any more because I'm getting older," he said.
During the games, Parks and Rec announced the athlete of the year which went to 30-year-old Michael Harding, an athlete from Wayne Opportunity. Sharron Hinson won staff of the year for her services at Crossroads.
D'Leeshia Lee, special population program supervisor for Parks and Rec and Special Olympics coordinator, said 110 athletes registered for the event. She said children will participate in Special Olympics today if weather permits.
"They enjoy the competitiveness of the different games," she said. "They enjoy socializing with their peers, and they enjoy the fact that they get to come out and show their spirit."
"We recognize them. We honor them."