Once again, the cops are taking to the street, pursuing something good instead of the bad guys when they complete the Special Olympics Torch Run.
On Tuesday, runners will leave from two locations – the Sheriff’s station on Magic Mountain Parkway and Vanderbilt Way (behind truck scales on I-5) – headed for Heritage Park and a celebration of teamwork.
“The run is a culmination of our law enforcement partnership and brings awareness to Special Olympics,” said Laura Mayo, Regional Director for the Special Olympics.
Runners’ routes have changed in response to increased traffic on surface streets; Mayo said that they don’t want to be the cause of traffic problems.
“We decided to meet in one location, so all of law enforcement can enjoy it and give high fives to our athletes,” she said
The first team of runners, which will include California Highway Patrol and deputies from Pitchess Detention Center, will start at Vanderbilt Way at 3 p.m., traveling on Vanderbilt toward Newhall Ranch Road, taking a right on Newhall Ranch Road and following that road to the entrance of Heritage Park at McBean Parkway.
The second team of runners, including those from the FBI, LA County Sheriffs, ATF and the Secret Service, will leave the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station on Magic Mountain Parkway, traveling towards McBean Parkway, turn right on McBean towards Newhall Ranch Road, where they will turn left and go into the entrance of the park.
Throughout the year, law enforcement officers have served as waiters during “Tip A Cop” events, jumped into the cold waters of Hurricane Harbor during “Polar Plunge” and participated in efforts to raise money for Special Olympics. This year, they raised nearly $10,000 for the organization, which will help with sports training and competitions.
The torch run is the final event before athletes go to their annual Summer Games.
“Through their training and competition, 70 athletes (from Santa Clarita) were selected to go on to the Summer Games,” Mayo said.
According to their website, the mission of Special Olympics SCV is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience the joy of physical achievement and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. Athletes are put on teams with other athletes of similar ability levels, and the teams have their own competitions.
Special Olympics hosts a variety of sports competitions and fundraising events throughout the year. They also host a big annual competition known as the Annual Spirit Games each spring, where nearly 1,200 athletes from throughout Southern California compete in six different sports including basketball, bocce, swimming, tennis and track and field. Call 661-253-2121 for more information.