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NJ government shutdown forces special olympics to cancel 5k fundraiser

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Amy Castle has been raising money and running in the New Jersey Special Olympics 5K at Liberty State Park for three years, but this year, the race was canceled because of a days long government shutdown.

Castle had raised $125 ahead of schedule this year so that she could get a t-shirt and running tag in the mail. This morning, she woke up and put that shirt on, even though the race was cancelled.

"When you run on this day, there are special needs people running at the same time," said Castle. "It's for a good cause and everybody cheers each other on."

Castle said she runs for her sister and nephew. Her sister, 40, suffers from multiple sclerosis and her nephew, 10, has down syndrome.

"I just feel bad for all the participants because everyone does it for their own reason, and it's just a shame," she said.

Participants were supposed to meet at Liberty State Park to board a ferry to Ellis Island to run the race. All state parks and beaches were closed up until this morning due to the budget stalemate in Trenton.

More than 300 registered and raised over $36,000​ for the Special Olympics.

Castle said the organization can keep her $100 registration fee and the money she raised.

New Jersey Special Olympics stated on Facebook that they'd contact participants later this week with options.

"Due to the continued government shutdown and logistics involved, we have officially cancelled this year's Statue of Liberty 5K," read their post. "This was a hard decision to make and we apologize for any inconvenience caused, but we wanted to give all our participants ample time to make alternative July 4th plans."