Law Enforcement Torch Run helps local Special Olympic athletes get to Summer Games

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With a torch in hand and waving flags, Kings County law enforcement carried the Special Olympic flame into Chukchansi Park Tuesday morning. The end of their run marked the beginning of another in Fresno County.

"You come in and it's exciting, you have all these motorcycles lined up, you have the horses out, you have this flame that's walking out of this stadium and everyone starts running," said Scott Souza with the Special Olympics of Northern California. "There really is nothing like it."

From police officers to sheriff's deputies... many gathered at the ballpark to run alongside Special Olympic athletes and others with intellectual disabilities.

"I feel good, I'm ready to do this, get some jogging and do some sprinting," said runner Damond Robinson.

After a quick passing of the torch, runners took off in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, raising money and awareness for the 2019 summer games.

"There is no fakeness, it is all true," said Deputy Freddie Henson with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "They are all super excited to be here and they are big supporters of law enforcement and they are always a positive inspiration."

They ran nine miles, some officers doing it uniformly. Among this year's runners is gold medal Olympian Alex Nuno.

"I just run," he said. "I'm not the fastest, but I do my best."

He carried the torch for a stretch along Blackstone.

"I slowed down a couple of times, but I wanted to keep going," said Nuno.

People stood on the sidelines cheering him and everyone else on. For several years now the Run has helped athletes like Nuno, get to the Northern California Summer Games. It costs about $300 dollars to attend and every year the community comes out to make it happen.

"This money goes to fund, their sporting events, this is their out of pocket cost for them and their families," said Henson.

The Northern California Special Olympics take place at UC Davis this month starting on the 21st.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.