Press Club

Special Olympics Torch Run to Wind through Arlington

An Olympic torch will be making its way through Arlington on Thursday. Not the one that’s going to be lighting up London in a few months, but the Virginia Special Olympics torch.

More than 2,000 law enforcement officers take part in the eight day Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run, when the torch is carried on a 1,900 mile trek across the state. Forty-seven Arlington County Police Department personnel will participate.

Opening ceremonies begin at the Marine Corps Memorial in Rosslyn at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, June 7, and the torch run begins at 9:30 a.m. During the run, officers will head over the Memorial Bridge, past Gravelly Point, past Reagan National Airport and will hand off the torch at the Alexandria line. Full route details can be found online. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the athletes along the route.

Following the run, which originates in seven different parts of the state, the torch will end up at the Special Olympics Virginia Summer Games Opening Ceremony in Richmond. At that point, a Special Olympics athlete will receive the torch and light the new Olympic Cauldron.

A police chief in Kansas spearheaded the first torch run in 1981 to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics. Virginia’s first torch run took place in 1986.

“Now in its 27th year, the Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run, has raised more than $14 million for Special Olympics Virginia, including a record-breaking $924,000 this year alone,” according to an ACPD press release.

All 50 states as well as 40 countries hold similar torch run events.

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