Team Florida is going for the gold on Friday morning, as the Collier County Sheriff’s Office kicks off its leg of the 39th annual Law Enforcement Torch Run, which sees runners of all levels make a 4.8-mile run with the torch for the Florida Special Olympics.
Law enforcement officers from over 300 Florida agencies participate in this torch run every year to raise awareness of and support for the Special Olympics. Over 5,000 officers from various police departments, sheriff’s offices, the Florida Department of Corrections, the FBI and more carry a torch on a relay through 67 Florida counties. Friday marks the time for Collier County’s leg of the relay.
The 4.8-mile run is set to start after opening remarks at 7:45 a.m. at CCSO headquarters, located at 3319 Tamiami Trail E. in East Naples. Runners will then go to the Naples Police Department at 355 Riverside Circle and finish at the Publix Supermarket in Naples Plaza, located at 1981 Tamiami Trail N.
Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk says it’s an honor just to participate.
“It’s important for us to support our Special Olympians,” Rambosk said. “You know, we have 500 Special Olympic athletes, and they participate in 11 different sports. I think a lot of people don’t realize they train throughout the year.”
Though the race has changed over the years, Rambosk says the purpose of the race has not.
“There are 38,000-plus Special Olympians,” Rambosk said. “Whether you’re from Collier County or throughout the state, our message is, ‘We support you.’ It helps the athletes and their health, their wellness and leadership for their futures, and that’s exactly what our support is all about.”
Vehicles will be trailing the runners in case they need assistance. This event is taking place all over Florida leading up to the state Special Summer Olympics in May.