Athletes pull together for Special Olympics at Dulles Airport

A team of Special Olympics athletes led off Saturday\'s Plane Pull. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

DULLES, Va. – The 82-ton Boeing 757 that sat on a runway at Dulles Airport on Saturday didn’t quite reach takeoff speed, but then it was powered by an unusual source.

Saturday marked the annual Dulles Day celebration of the airport, and the centerpiece of the festivities was the 21st annual Plane Pull.

The plane pull, which benefits the Special Olympics, sees 75 teams of 25 people each competing to see who can pull an 82-ton Boeing 757 with a rope the distance of 12 feet in the shortest amount of time.

This year, the leadoff team had a special stake in the pull – a team of Special Olympics athletes had the first crack at the jet.

“They get to show off today,” says Holly Claytor of Special Olympics Virginia. “We all like to flex our muscles a little bit.” She claimed that the other teams would have an easier pull, because the Special Olympians’ efforts had “greased up the wheels.”

2013 Results

The Chesapeake Sheriffs Office team came in first place, with a new record pull time of 5.54 seconds, making them seven-time champions. United placed second, and the Fairfax Sheriffs, came in third. The Chesapeake Sheriffs also earned the tile of the heaviest team at 7,666 pounds. The lightest team was FOAA at 2,346 pounds.

This year’s Dulles Day saw a 5K run added for the first time. The 21-year-old event has raised $1.5 million for the Special Olympics since its inception.

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