Fasten your seatbelts; the 2022 Coaster Challenge is making its way back to Gurnee in just a few short weeks! On Saturday, September 17, hundreds of roller coaster enthusiasts will gather at Six Flags Great America to take on the twists, turns, and thrills in this adrenaline-seeking challenge.

How does it work? Participants sign up to ride the equivalent of a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon on Six Flags’ world-class roller coasters, then raise money from their family and friends leading up to event day. The distance is measured by the length of the track on each coaster and the funds raised benefit the athletes and Young Athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.


Two of these roller coaster fanatics, and this year’s Coaster Challenge Ambassadors, are gearing up for a day of excitement. We asked Ava and Reegan, Special Olympics Illinois athlete and Unified partner from Byron High School in Region A, some questions leading up to the big day. Here’s what they had to say:


Are you excited to be this year’s Coaster Challenge Ambassadors?

“I’m very excited! It’s such an amazing opportunity and I’m so excited to be a part of this
program,” said Ava.

Reegan exclaimed, “Yes, I am!”

In your opinion, what does it mean to be an ambassador?

“An ambassador is someone who is a leader and someone who is passionate about what they are standing up for,” Ava said.

“I am proud to be an ambassador," said Reegan, "I get to represent myself, my community, and Special Olympics! It’s great to bring awareness to the program and the awesome things it does.”

What does it mean to be unified?

Ava said, “Unified means inclusive and being all together.”

“It brings athletes and people together of all abilities,” said Reegan.

What are you most excited for on Coaster Challenge day?

“I am so excited to see everybody enjoying the day and having lots of fun," said Ava, "I’m hoping all goes well!”

Reegan said, “Riding a lot of roller coasters. I love roller coasters!”

What’s one fun fact about you?

Ava said, “Every year I have played a new Special Olympics sport!”

"I dance like no one is watching! I am also a good cook and baker,” said Reegan.


Ava and Reegan will be out at Six Flags Great America enjoying the thrills on September 17, and you can join them! Learn more, sign up to participate, or register as a volunteer for the 2022 Coaster Challenge at coasterchallenge.com.