Torch runners to light flame for 950-plus NH Special Olympians
Nate Webb, left, a Special Olympian from Concord, runs with Claremont police officer William Neilsen, who carries the torch, on Main Street in Concord during the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics New Hampshire. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Running for the love of it
Nashua, Merrimack police take part in torch run
A journey that began May 17 in Jackson and brought 150 police officers together for a rewarding run will end today at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Officers on the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run will arrive with the Flame of Hope — the torch used to light the cauldron during opening ceremonies at the 43rd annual Special Olympics New Hampshire Summer Games.
“Once you get involved with the athletes and you go to the games, most people get hooked,” said Mike Murray, 51, a school resource officer in Merrimack.
The run covers about 800 miles and involves a total of 18 legs, most of which occurred Thursday.
Law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes carried the torch to Concord for a brief stop at the State House Thursday afternoon.
The torch run is an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics New Hampshire.
Rob Porreca, director of communication and grants for Special Olympics New Hampshire, said opening ceremonies will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Memorial Field in front of the Whittemore Center Arena.
More than 950 athletes from across the state are expected to compete in the games today and Saturday.
The competition will feature six sports, including aquatics, athletics, bocce, equestrian, power-lifting and tennis.
The games follow a season of practice and regional competitions.
“It's an unbelievable experience to be able to work with these athletes and give them awards,” said Merrimack Sgt. Brian Levesque, 34, who has participated in the run for 10 years.
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