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Special Olympics - Ride for the Run

Written by  March 31, 2005

If you've been reading this magazine for at least a year, then you know how much we care about Special Olympics. I wrote about them in March last year and Wayne wrote about them just a couple of months ago. Imagine my delight while I was out distributing flyers at local shops for another ride, when I saw a flyer for a ride benefiting Special Olympics. Once I got back home, I called Kelly Curran, Development Manager for Special Olympics Kansas, and asked her to tell me more about it.

It's called a Ride for the Run, which will be held on Sunday, April 24. The route will take you through Stillwell, Louisburg, Ottawa and Lawrence before returning to Hooter’s in Overland Park. All proceeds will benefit the Law Enforcement Torch Run®(LETR), Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) and Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO). Since I wasn't familiar with the Torch Run, I asked Kelly to elaborate on that.

The LETR is an actual running event in which officers and athletes run the 'Flame of Hope' to the Opening Ceremonies of local Special Olympics competitions at State Games. The mission of the Torch Run is to raise funds for and awareness of Special Olympics worldwide. In 2004, the Torch Run raised more than $20 million for Special Olympics Programs around the world. How'd they do that, you might ask? More than 85,000 law enforcement officers carried the 'Flame of Hope' across 35 nations and thousands supported their efforts through sponsorships, donations, pledges and special events such as this Ride.

Believe it or not, but the LETR began in Wichita, Kansas back in 1981. So watch the roadways in Kansas starting May 31 through June 2 when over 1,300 officers carry the Torch along 1,500 miles to open the Summer Games in Wichita. In Missouri, start looking for officers beginning May 23 through May 25 as they carry the Torch to open the Summer Games in Columbia.

This is a big deal for Special Olympics. How big? Very big! Every two years, thousands of Special Olympics athletes from around the world come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. The Special Olympics World Games is a world-class sporting event featuring intense competition and inspiring performances. In 2005, the Special Olympics World Winter Games was held in Nagano, Japan, February 26 through March 5. Around 1,800 athletes, 800 coaches and 8,500 volunteers participated representing 84 regions and 38 countries.

So it's only natural that every two years, law enforcement officers from around the world gather to carry the 'Flame of Hope' in a Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg to honor the Special Olympics World Games. The Torch Run Final Leg is not only a salute to the athletes who compete in the Special Olympics World Games, but also an honor for the participating law enforcement officers. The 2005 Final Leg Team was 125 members made up of law enforcement runners, Special Olympics athletes and a support team. Final Leg runners were chosen from Torch Run Programs around the world. This year, Tim Burnett of the Merriam Police Department represented Kansas.

In 2007, the Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Shanghai, China, October 10 though 19. So let's help raise some money for the LETR, SOMO and SOKS by participating in the Ride for the Run!

If you live in or around Springfield, Missouri, stop by Denney's Harley-Davidson/Buell where only 300 tickets will be sold for a chance to win a 2005 15th Anniversary Harley–Davidson Fat Boy (two-tone black cherry pearl and black pearl fuel injected with security system). The drawing will be on Saturday, April 23. Proceeds will benefit the Torch Run.

Another Ride for the Run will be held in Salina, Kansas on Saturday, April 30 starting at 10 a.m. at McDonald's. For more details, check out the Kansas Torch Run site.

Don't forget about this year's KC Metro Area Track and Field competition, which will be held at Lee's Summit High School on Saturday, May 7. They'll need about 350 volunteers for this huge event. The Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Chapter volunteers will be coordinated through Stripe. There are several different volunteer jobs available, so if you want to sign up, call or email Dawn Jones at 913-789-0332 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Story by Margaret Liggett