By Anna Skinner
The Boone County Unified Torch Run is returning to raise funds for the Special Olympics, but this year there’s a big difference.
In years past, only law enforcement officials could carry the torch. Now, Zionsville Police Dept. Officer Josh Chapman, who serves as event chairman, said anybody on any team can carry the torch during the run at 9 a.m. July 16.
“This program helps serve 11,000 athletes in Indiana, and our fundraising efforts go to help that,” Chapman said. “Every year, (Boone County) departments are encouraged to run in the torch run. We model ours after the Unified Relay Across America, and this encourages a more unified partnership between not only law enforcement and the Special Olympics, but general community members as well.”
Although there are a variety of different teams and individual runners, the law enforcement team always runs the last segment.
“We will end at Lions Park with a celebration,” Chapman said. “A couple sponsors will be out there with businesses around the community that set up tents. The Lions Club provides lunch for everyone, and there is a party to hang out, meet our athletes and celebrate what’s going on.”
Chapman said the distance is approximately seven miles, and each team runs between .25 and .5 miles. Those who don’t want to run can participate as a virtual runner by donating online and setting up a fundraising page to help support the program.
Team sign-ups should be completed by July 11, but Chapman said if someone shows up the day of and wants to run, the group will find them a spot. The fundraising goal for this year is $2,000.
A new event this year will be a hot-dog lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 15 at Akard’s True Value Hardware, 25 Boone Village, for those won can’t attend the run but want to support the cause and make a donation.
To donate, visit firstgiving.com/soindiana/2016-letr-county-torch-runs. To sign up a team, contact Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org.