Torch Run Benefits Special Olympics
To the ancient Greeks, fire was thought to be of divine nature. It’s no wonder they lit a flame during the earliest Olympic Games. Thankfully, the ritual stuck.
Today, nothing symbolizes the spirit of the international athletic event quite like the celebrated torch relay prior to its ceremonial lighting. It sort of represents the light within us all — our common link. The same is true for the North Carolina Special Olympics (NCSO) Athletes Games, which will be held in Raleigh and Cary this summer.
The Pinehurst Police Department (PPD) will sponsor a Torch Run Saturday, May 22, during which the annual torch for the NCSO will be carried from Moore County to Lee County, from Lee County to Chatham County, and so forth, relaying through North Carolina to raise money for the Special Olympics athletes.
As in years past, Torch Run participants will meet at the Car Quest off Perry Drive in Southern Pines. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
“The mileage [of the race] depends on how much the runners want to run,” says Sgt. Tina Sheppard, adding that there are roughly 19 miles of pavement leading to the Moore-Lee county line.
Sheppard is the coordinator for NCSO fundraisers hosted by PPD. She has participated in the Torch Run for the past 11 years.
“Last year the run was canceled,” says Sheppard, reflecting on the officer whose funeral was held on the day the event had been scheduled. “We took the torch to the line and handed it off to Lee County by motor vehicle.”
Nearly 1,500 athletes (intellectually disabled children and adults) will participate in the NCSO 2010 Summer Games in June. Many have been training all year for one or more of the 19 Olympics-type sports currently offered. Although hundreds of family members, coaches and volunteers will bring their support to the fields, pools and courts, the NCSO would not be possible without the ongoing fundraising events hosted within the state throughout the year.
Sheppard recites the Special Olympics athlete oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in attempt,” adding how proud and eager the athletes are to compete.
Speaking on behalf of the entire PPD, she invites the community to sign up, lace up and support the NCSO so that “all of the athletes may continue to play their sports.”
The entry fee for the May 22 Torch Run is $25. Door prizes and a 50/50 drawing will take place at Car Quest after the run.
For more information on registration, contact the Pinehurst Police Department at (910) 295-3141.
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