Special Olympics Torch Run Passes Through Area

Posted at: 06/24/2014 7:01 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 News) -- If you were out driving on some local county roads Tuesday, you might have seen people running or biking alongside squad cars. It was part of the Torch Run, a statewide law enforcement effort to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics.

From running, to biking, this group of police officer, deputies, SWAT team members, and prison staff swapped out their uniforms for tee shirts, and their squad cars for bicycles, all for a good cause.

"To raise awareness and money for Special Olympics," said Lisa Pelowski, with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

It's called the Torch Run. In Southeast Minnesota, that means a run from Rochester to Zumbrota, where they pass the torch. From there, Goodhue County makes a 50-mile bike ride to Red Wing.

"The athletes and individuals are challenged every day in their regular normal lives. So we like to bring attention to that. Do what we can to show some support," said Pelowski.

For retired Red Wing Sergeant Gene Grave, the cause hits close to home. He has a family friend who runs in the Special Olympics.

"It's been a real confidence builder for him. He speaks highly of it. It's a memorable occasion for him. It just gives me a little incentive to keep doing it year after year," said Grave.

So this group gladly hits the road, and deals with the heat, in order to pass the torch and spread the word about a cause they care about.

"Riding 50 miles is nothing compared to what they do on a daily basis," said Grave.

Last year, the Torch Run raised $3.4 million in Minnesota alone.