This year's statewide Torch Run begins Wednesday and leads into a grand ceremony on Friday afternoon. (Photos from the Special Olympics Delaware)

Torch Run unifies Special Olympics, law enforcement, community 

Jarek RutzCulture, Headlines, Police & Fire

This year's statewide Torch Run begins Wednesday and leads into a grand ceremony on Friday afternoon. (Photos from the Special Olympics Delaware)

This year’s statewide Torch Run begins Wednesday and leads into a grand ceremony on Friday afternoon. (Photos from the Special Olympics Delaware)

The spirit of the Summer Olympics is here in Delaware, so get the torches lit, the legs stretched and hit the streets and sidewalks to unite with neighbors in a statewide effort to support law enforcement and people with special needs.

The 38th Annual Statewide Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics kicks off Wednesday and runs through Friday. 

Organized by the Special Olympics Delaware, the annual run is capped off Friday afternoon when a cauldron is lit by the organization’s Torch Runner of the Year and Athlete of the Year to officially signify the opening of the games. 

“Through that partnership, awareness and funds are generated to further the mission of Special Olympics,” said Lisa Smith, senior director of marketing and development and Torch Run liaison for Special Olympics Delaware. “Law enforcement as our partners are as committed to providing opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities, using sports as a platform as we are as an organization.”

Here’s this year’s schedule:

Wednesday, June 5

Upstate

  • Start: 9 a.m. at the New Castle County Police Department
  • Ceremony: 9:30 a.m. at the Wilmington Police Department
  • Route: Kirkwood Highway to Albertson Boulevard

Downstate

  • Start: 3:30 p.m. at Fenwick Island
  • Ceremony: 7 p.m. at Rehoboth Beach Bandstand
  • Route: Post-ceremony one-mile run to Grove Park

Thursday, June 6

Downstate

  • Start (Leg 1): 6:15 a.m. at Delmar Police Department
  • Start (Leg 2): 6:55 a.m. at Georgetown Circle
  • Unification: Harrington, continuing to Dover
  • Ceremony: 1:45 p.m. on Legislative Mall, Dover

Upstate

  • Start: 10:30 a.m. at Middletown Police Department
  • Convergence: Dover ceremony at 1:45 p.m. on Legislative Mall, Dover

Friday, June 7

  • Start: 4:15 p.m. at Newark Shopping Center
  • Culmination: 4:00 p.m. at the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games, held at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware. The Flame of Hope will arrive at the ceremony at approximately 5 p.m.

Smith said nearly 1,000 people run/walk in the event, in addition to another thousand volunteers.

Since its inception, the Torch Run has raised over $11 million, directly benefiting the year-round programs of Special Olympics Delaware. 

These funds ensure that children and adults with intellectual disabilities receive quality sports training and opportunities for athletic competition. 

The Special Summer Games themselves take place on Friday and Saturday at the University of Delaware Sports Complex, with six different sports in an open-to-the-public event.

Smith said the athletes have been training for about 10 weeks.

“They’ve been training for weeks and now they’re putting all that hard work and bringing it on to the fields of competition to show that they can achieve and be seen on the playing fields like anyone else,” she said. 

In her time with the organization and facilitating the run, Smith said the community rallies around law enforcement to support the event and in doing that they’re also supporting Delaware’s athletes.

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