Like so many other traditions that have been postponed, canceled, or recreated in virtual reality form, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics will be joining that lengthy list.

This year, the 32nd year of this event, for the first time ever, the Law Enforcement Torch Run will be a Virtual Event. Usually, some of South Dakota's finest law enforcement officers lace up their shoes and run to raise funds and awareness about Special Olympics.

In previous events, officers traveled with Special Olympics athletes across the state, stopping in cities to run a set route carrying the "Flame of Hope", and inviting local law enforcement officers and the public to join them.

This year registrants can raise funds (by creating your own fundraising page) and run or walk, on your own, and keep track of miles by using social media and the hashtag #2020SDvirtualtorchrun. Virtual Torch Runners will get e-mail updates, tips & tricks, and people cheering you on throughout your virtual run.

But, let's say the last time you ran anywhere was in elementary school and your walking routine is from the couch to the fridge, and back. No problem. You can still support Special Olympians by registering as a non-runner and with a $50 donation, you'll even get one of the cool, commemorative t-shirts.

This event gets underway on Friday, May 15, and continues through Monday, June 15, with a goal to raise $5,000 for Special Olympics South Dakota.

There are great incentive prizes for different fundraising levels, and whoever raises the most money will win a gorgeous, handmade quilt containing retro Torch Run shirts.

More than 2700 special athletes in over 50 communities across our state participate in Special Olympics. The athletes develop fitness routines and discipline, test their courage, and make lasting friendships with other athletes and coaches.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run not only raises awareness but funds that help to ensure participation in Special Olympics remains free.

For more information, see Special Olympics South Dakota online on Facebook, or call the Sioux Falls office at 605-331-4117, or toll-free at 1-800-585-2114.

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