PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Special Olympics Rhode Island kicked-off it’s inaugural “24 Hour Super Torch Run” on Saturday.
A small group of four will run or walk around Roger Williams Park for 24-hours, ending Sunday at 11 a.m.
The group is represented by police, fire and the Attorney General’s office:
- Det. Eric LeClerc – Cranston Police Department
- Jim Baum – Attorney General’s Office
- Officer Frank Matarese – South Kingstown Police Department
- Firefighter Jennifer Foss – Providence Fire Department
CEO of Special Olympics Rhode Island, Denis DeJesus, says, “nothing amazes me when it comes to our law-enforcement, our fire, and our corrections officers.”
“When this was proposed, 24-hours walking through Roger Williams Park I knew they would do it. I knew it would be successful,” DeJesus said.
As of noon on Saturday, fundraising donations have reached just over $11,000, according to LeClerc.
They ended up surpassing their goal of $10,000.
“Originally we were going to run throughout the whole state. From police department to police department,” said LeClerc, who is the father of 16-year-old Sofia, a Special Olympics athlete. “We figured we would start with this (running through Roger Williams Park) first because of logistics.”
Between LeClerc and Baum, the idea was born.
“We wanted to do something that would spread awareness for Rhode Island Special Olympics, raise money for Rhode Island Special Olympics. It was just crazy enough to grab people’s attention,” Baum said.
DeJesus believes the event will continue to grow.
“This will become a staple event for Special Olympics Rhode Island. You are going to see more and more participation over the years,” DeJesus said.
Special Olympics Rhode Island serves 4,000 athletes from every city and town across the state. No athlete pays to participate, which is why fundraising is critical.
According to DeJesus, the annual budget for Special Olympics Rhode Island is $1.6 million.
Event organizers said anyone is welcome to come down, cheer the runners on or take a lap. The staging area is north of “Temple to Music” on Pine Hill Avenue.