Last Friday, police were the ones running with their cruisers in pursuit as they carried the Special Olympics torch across the southeastern corner of Lamoille County.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is one of the largest fundraisers for the Special Olympics, and Stowe and Morristown police officers and Lamoille County sheriff’s deputies have been participating in growing numbers over the past several years. Money is raised through sponsorships and T-shirt sales.
The Lamoille County leg of the run started at the sheriff’s department in Hyde Park shortly after 8 a.m., with joggers making their way past the elementary school and the waving kids. They made a pit stop at main sponsor Lamoille Valley Chevrolet, then piled into cruisers and reconvened at the intersection of Routes 15 and 100 — it was rush hour and police were sensitive to the usual traffic jam near the roundabout.
From there, runners and their blue-lighted escorts made their way into the village, up to the elementary and high school, and back down Peoples Academy Hill, where they picked up a group of special Olympic athletes and their supporters for the final jog through the village to Morristown PD.
These honored runners took turns carrying the torch — “It’s pretty heavy,” laughed Kathy Barber. She and friend Joni Teroni were getting ready to participate the next day at the University of Vermont as one of three 4-person bocce teams from Lamoille County.
Connie Plante, whose daughter Kristine often competes in track and field for Special Olympics, is the county coordinator for the games.
“They’ve had about eight to 10 weeks of practice, so they’re ready,” she said.
Later Friday, the torch run reconvened in Stowe, where runners carried the Flame of Hope from the north end of town along Maple Street into the village, with stops at the elementary school and the municipal offices.
From there, the intrepid runners made their way south on Route 100, headed for the town line.