The biggest annual fundraiser for B.C. Special Olympics is about to sprint out of the starting blocks.
Nanaimo’s third annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics happens at Maffeo Sutton Park June 21.
“The RCMP has supported the Special Olympics through its Law Enforcement Torch Run since the early 1990s and has raised several million dollars to help local athletes achieve their goals through attending local, national and even international events,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
O’Brien said this year Nanaimo is fielding nine Special Olympians to the games, which are being hosted in Vancouver July 8-12.
Nanaimo’s first torch run in 2012 drew 48 participants. That number grew to 77 for 2013 and organizers hope at least 100 people turn out for this year’s event, which includes a warm-up to music by RSM Productions DJ Services, followed by participants’ choice of a five-kilometre run or stroll along Nanaimo’s waterfront and a barbecue in the park hosted by Save-On-Foods.
RCMP Emergency Response Team members are also turning out in full response gear for this year’s run.
O’Brien said in Nanaimo the event is open to more than just traditional law enforcement members and their families.
“We recognize serving members of the military, correctional officers, sheriffs and we open it up to their families and friends,” O’Brien said.
Organizers hope to surpass the $3,000 raised at last year’s event and all cash raised support local Special Olympians. Everyone who registers for the torch run gets a T-shirt included with their $20 registration fee. Children under 12 participate for free.
Participants can register online at www.sobc.kintera.org/torchrun, at Maffeo Sutton Park the morning of the event or by calling 250-755-3257. Registration starts at 10 a.m. at the Lions Pavilion.
“It’s a good time,” O’Brien said. “You get to come out and share some laughs with the athletes and support a good cause.”