Webster, Hamilton sheriff’s offices team up to support athletes

After today’s Torch Run, Saturday 5k will benefit Special Olympics

All across the state today people are gearing up for this year’s Special Olympics Summer Games.

A torch run is being held this morning at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park to support the athletes who are headed to the annual competition in Ames Thursday through Saturday.

Along with the torch run, an annual tradition, a new event has been planned this year to show the community’s support of Special Olympics athletes.

The first Neighbors in Blue 5k fun run/walk will be held Saturday at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the run itself starting around 10 a.m.

Law enforcement officers from both Hamilton and Webster counties will be there to raise funds for the kids, said Webster County Sheriff’s Deputy Amy Stringer.

“This was something I wanted to do to get the public involved to support the athletes,” Stringer said. “I have teamed up with the Hamilton County Peace Officers Association.

“We’ll have deputies from Webster and Hamilton county, Webster City PD, Fort Dodge PD, Iowa State Patrol, Dayton Police Department, Fort Dodge Fire Department, and Life Flight will also be there.”

The helicopter will be landing around 9:45 a.m., Stringer said.

“For those people who don’t want to do the walk or run, we’ll have all the cars and Life Flight out there so they can meet some of the first responders.”

Registration is available the day of the race. To register early, visit soiowa.org/fun-run-5k, or email NeighborsInBlue@gmail.com. Registration is $25 and includes the Torch Run Supporter shirt; if you already have your shirt, it’s a $10 registration fee.

Door prizes at the event will include a Yeti cooler, rounds of golf at Briggs Woods in Hamilton County, and a kids’ bicycle.

Local officials have long lended their support to the Special Olympics. The FDPD, for instance, runs a team every year in the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser.

“I started working with them about five years ago when I joined the sheriff’s office,” Stringer said. “Every year I do the torch run, and we sell T-shirts for them to raise money.”

In the past, the torch run was held within Fort Dodge, starting at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility. It moved to John F. Kennedy Memorial Park a number of years ago.

“We normally have about 100 Special Olympics kids out there that we hang out with,” Stringer said.

The summer games in Ames include track and field, soccer skills, swimming and tennis. The games’ official torch run is a three day event beginning in downtown Des Moines which brings the flame to Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University for the opening ceremony.