Special Olympics Torch Run Passes Through Bemidji
The Special Olympics Minnesota Summer Games take place this weekend and keeping up with tradition, before the start of the games, there’s a torch run. Local law enforcement participated in support of the Bemidji Special Olympics team and also held a fundraiser.
“I think it’s a huge deal for them,” said Deputy Sheriff Brian Birt of the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. ” I know they appreciate us being here from talking with some of the athletes and the people that help run it.”
The Bemidji Special Olympics team has been around for many years and gives athletes hope and the ability to participate in sports like running, basketball and power lifting.
“We have over 100 athletes and probably twice as many volunteers and unified partners that participate in different sports throughout the season, throughout the year,” said Special Olympics Minnesota Community Outreach Specialist Shannon Murray.
This was the first time the torch run was held in Bemidji. For athletes like Renee Miller, she’s been a part of the Special Olympics for 25 years. The Special Olympics make her feel appreciated.
“I get to compete with friends that have similar disabilities and I have lots of fun,” said Miller.
“Some of the people are only going to run for the first mile or so,” said Birt. “Some people are only going to stay until Cass Lake and then there’s I think seven or eight of us that are going to do the whole route down to Pequot Lakes.”
Bradley Olson says the Special Olympics is a good cause and a way for him to spend time with friends and become involved with the community, something he’s done since the 1990s.
“Let me win, but if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt,” said Olson. “It’s the Special Olympics oath and that about says it all.”
A state trooper and SWAT bus followed the runners and updates were given through a Facebook page so anyone could follow along.