On Friday, June 7, 2019, law enforcement officers in New Jersey will wear a different kind of uniform – jogging attire and sneakers – as they carry the “Flame of Hope” throughout the Garden State and into the 2019 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games, held at The College of New Jersey(TCNJ) in Ewing, NJ.
During the 36th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey, more than 3,000 officers take to the streets of their local communities, split up into 26 separate legs with some starting as early as 4:45 a.m., and run to raise awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey.
Here are the different torch run maps. There are two legs in the Mercer Area that converge to enter Lion Stadium at The College of NJ for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics Summer Games
Spectators are invited to watch the flame as it is carried through their town and to cheer on the officers on their journey. For maps or more information, visit www.NJTorchRun.org.
“Law enforcement officers have been serving Special Olympics New Jersey athletes for over 35 years,” says Chief Robert Belfiore, Retired Deputy Chief of the Port Authority of NY/NJ and Director of the New Jersey Torch Run. “As the Director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, I especially feel privileged to work with these dedicated individuals. This is our opportunity to show the members of our communities the great partnership we have built with Special Olympics New Jersey at one of their most inspiring events.”
The “Final Leg” of the run is on Friday night at the Summer Games Opening Ceremony. More than 2,500 Special Olympics athletes, their families and fans, will gather at TCNJ in anticipation of Special Olympics New Jersey’s largest competition event of the year. Over the next two days, athletes will compete in bocce, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, swimming, tennis, and track & field. Officers will continue to volunteer their time by awarding medals to triumphant athletes that weekend.
In addition to the run itself and their participation in the athletes’ awards ceremonies, these officers spend months raising funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey at events like the Polar Bear Plunges, Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5k, Statue of Liberty 5k, United Airlines Plane Pull, The Great Coaster Race, multiple golf outings, and many smaller local events.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey is recognized as a leader in fundraising among the many programs around the globe, and in 2018 raised more than $4.1 million for the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey.
“From training to competition, health resources to leadership opportunities, Special Olympics New Jersey provides all its programs completely free of charge to our community,” says Jason Schubert, Senior Director of LETR Initiatives for Special Olympics New Jersey. “And for over 35 years of Special Olympics New Jersey history, law enforcement officers have been supporting these initiatives and raising millions of dollars every year for our athletes.”
For more information on the 2019 Law Enforcement Torch Run, please visit www.NJTorchRun.org.
To see photos of the Torch Run and athletes competing in the 2019 Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games after the event is concluded, visit www.Flickr.com/SONewJersey.