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Midland’s Law Enforcement Torch Run goes virtual because of pandemic

Midland’s annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Michigan has gone virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT
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MIDLAND, Mich. (WJRT) - Midland’s annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Michigan has gone virtual this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers of the race said that even though the pandemic is happening, they wanted to make sure the race happened so that money can go towards such a great cause.

“We’re the guardians of the flame,” said Rodney Roten, an executive committee member for the run and current transport deputy for the Midland County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s our goal and our mission to do all we can do to make sure these athletes get their day in the spotlight.”

Roten said that races like this happen across the state and Midland’s often comes out as the most participated in and raises the most money.

“We don’t want to let the momentum die down," he said. "We don’t want people to forget about the Law Enforcement Torch Run so we decided, hey let’s try something different, let’s do it virtual.”

Roten is seeking more runners to participate.

“Let’s let people be able to sign up, go out there, and do it on their own but let’s just have some fun with it,” he said. “You know, when you’re out there take some pictures of yourself doing the run, video yourself doing a run and send it in to Special Olympics and we’ll send it out to the athletes.”

People can sign up by clicking here.

Roten said that every $30 donation sends one Special Olympics' athlete to a state event and he said the impact these games have on the athletes makes it completely worth it.

“I was honored to escort an athlete to go up and light the cauldron at the opening of the summer games," Roten recalled. "So I escort her up, light the cauldron, all the thousands of athletes are out there at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mt. Pleasant and she looks up at me and says ‘this is the greatest day of my life.’ You know, your heart melts and how do you know not get involved and just keep powering forward and doing all you can to help raise funds for these athletes go for the gold.”

The virtual event will run through September 18. So far, more than $60,000 has been raised for the Special Olympics across the state.

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