OCEAN CITY — Law Enforcement officers representing all of Worcester County will be on the run on Monday, June 3, taking part in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Relay for Special Olympics Maryland.
The mission is to escort and protect the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” as it makes its way toward the opening of the Summer Games at Towson University, June 7-9.
The Maryland Torch Run is a fundraising movement that began in 1986 with a handful of officers raising $5,000 and has grown into a true year-round effort that involves thousands of officers and sponsors raising millions annually. Since its inception, those involved with the event have taken seriously their role as “Guardians of the Flame”, and the relay is an important and celebrated part of every Special Olympics competition. Without the funds raised by those dedicated to the Torch Run efforts across this state, and across the world, Special Olympics would not be able to provide the inspiring opportunities that they do.
The schedule for Ocean City/Worcester County’s portion of the Torch Run includes pre-event ceremonies at The Grand Hotel on 21st Street and the Boardwalk followed by the beginning of the relay at 8:30 a.m. The first leg of the relay will conclude at North Division Street around 9 a.m. After a short bus ride, the second leg of the relay will take place in West Ocean City and conclude around 10 a.m. at Ocean City Elementary School.
Participants will then load a bus for the third leg of the relay in Berlin with the leg concluding Berlin Intermediate School around 10:40 a.m. After being transported to the Worcester County Athletic Complex, the downtown Berlin run will take place around 11 a.m. with stops at Worcester Preparatory School and Buckingham Elementary School and concluding at the Berlin Fire Station with food and entertainment.
The local portion of the Torch Run Relay is part of a much larger effort. Statewide, the Maryland Torch Run Relay consists of four different legs – Eastern, Western, Central and Southern – and throughout the entire week, thousands of Torch Run volunteers will cover hundreds of miles, eventually converging on Towson where the individual flames will be united in the Final Leg Ceremony and then officers from around the state will travel the final 2.5 miles to the Opening Ceremony at Towson University. It is there that the flame is handed off to the Special Olympics athletes who have the honor of taking the final lap with the torch and then lighting the cauldron and officially declaring the Summer Games open.