Special Olympics athletes, Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies and other South Florida law enforcement officers in the area spent Wednesday morning running along the beach for a cause .
The 41st Annual Broward Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raises funds and awareness for the Florida Special Olympics, began in Fort Lauderdale Beach and stretches ten miles to finish in Pompano Beach.
The race drew crowds of supporters, who spoke to NBC 6.
“I’m here to support my hubby from the Wilton Manors Police Department as they run,” Kendra Littleton said, while holding a sign encouraging participants.
The event began with the lighting of the flame by Fernando Nunez, Cooper City resident and Special Olympics athlete. The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games gold medalist carried the Olympic Torch at the start and finish of the race.
Nunez and other Special Olympics athletes were surrounded by various local law enforcement and community members to complete the ten-mile trek.
However, the race was not as difficult as it looks because it was about representing and finishing in every way possible.
“I’m pretty much walking,” said Virginia Hernandez, representing the Broward Sheriff’s Office. “Sprinting a little just to get there, but I’m not the only one.”
Some groups divided the descent into sections and had small groups do each stage.
“They have different stops where you can stop if you can’t do the full route,” said Lauderhill Police Department Chief Constance Stanley. “Again, it’s nice for a good cause and we’re happy to be here.”
The event allows law enforcement officials and personnel to bond with Special Olympians athletes and help raise awareness and support Special Olympics Florida’s mission to provide athletic training and competition while throughout the year in a variety of Olympic-style sports for people with developmental disabilities. .
“To raise awareness of Special Olympics Florida, which works with people with special needs,” said Det. Joseph Nistor of the Lauderhill Police Department. “We’re really trying to show that with this race, so other members of the public can experience Special Olympics Florida.”
The Special Olympics Florida Summer Games begin May 20 in Orlando. You can find out more by clicking on this link.