Special Olympic athlete Paula Prough

Special Olympic athlete Paula Prough

Torch Run for Special Olympics coming to Trail

Local RCMP involved in province-wide event on Friday

At least 10 members of the Trail and Greater District RCMP will take to city streets on Friday for Trail’s first ever Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

There are more than 20 municipalities participating in this year’s Torch Run, the first time in a long time it has been run outside the Lower Mainland, said Megan Grittani-Livingston, manager of communications for Special Olympics B.C (SOBC).

“It’s quite inspirational to see that after 20 years law enforcement in B.C. is still dedicated to supporting Special Olympic athletes and volunteers and that the movement has grown so much.”

Const. Mauro Cavazzon, the officer spearheading the event in Trail and swim coach with SOBC, said when he was speaking with the organization about fundraising events he discovered they wanted to try and hold the event in every community, not just in the Lower Mainland.

The run has raised over $3 million throughout B.C. since it first began in 1990 and according to SOBC’s website is a vital part of their fundraising.

This is not the first time the two have partnered up to fundraise — Free the Fuzz has been running for at least four years in Trail — but since this is the first year of the run here, Sheila Hawton, local coordinator for Special Olympics Trail, is excited to see how things turn out.

“It’s one of those things we’ve never done so we’re going to see how it goes,” she said, adding that they wanted to try something different this time. “It is going to be exciting to see how we do because we’ve never done one before, it’s all new to us.”

Paula Prough, local multi-sport athlete and athlete representative, said the Special Olympics programs mean a lot to those who use them.

“You get to meet people and have fun and you have something to do because sometimes there isn’t anything for people with special needs to do,” she said. “It’s really important in sports especially because if you’re in normal sports it’s harder.”

“I want people to realize that the SOBC is a fun organization and that it’s all about interacting with the public,” said Cavazzon. “If they can take anything out of this it’s awareness — everyone has special Olympians in their community and everyone should try to make an effort to get involved.

“We want people to show up and paricipate — we’re not asking for huge donations, we just want people to be there. I want the citizens to show the other communities that Trail still is the ‘Home of the Champions,’ that they support their community and their athletes — because they are athletes.”

Members of the public are encouraged to participate and can pick up registration and donation forms for the run at the RCMP detachment. It’s $20 for adults to register, $15 for youth or students and includes a T-shirt, with all proceeds going to SOBC.

The run will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday; starting at J.L. Crowe, winding through Sunningdale and finishing at Gyro Park. Athletes and RCMP members will then take part in bocce ball games and refreshments.