GREENVILLE — The motivation to complete a race can range from personal accomplishment to the desire to outrun the runner who is paced directly before you just moments in front of the finish line.
But on Thursday, during the second annual Law Enforcement Torch Run in Greenville, no one was trying to finish first.
Instead, as local law enforcement personnel paced themselves along the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail on the the last warm day of summer to finish the 5K run, the sight of more than a dozen local Special Olympics athletes from the Montcalm County ISD Transition Plus program, holding together pieces of paper to spell out the words “Thank You” as other students created a finish-line ribbon out of caution tape, was more than enough motivation for each participant to sprint to the finish.
Trooper Kevin Disselkoen of the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post said this year’s event was once again a successful one, helping to raise more than $500 for the Special Olympics of Michigan.
“It’s really cool, it’s a good feeling to be able to support them and a great cause,” Disselkoen said. “We had great weather, a great turnout and great support. We had an increase in our runners this year as well.”
Disselkoen said 22 participants from the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office, Montcalm County Central Dispatch, Greenville Department of Public Safety and the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, with support from the Carson City Police Department, ran in this year’s event, which is held in connection to many other Law Enforcement Torch runs throughout the country.
“Today’s event is actually part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Week,” he said. “There’s multiple runs all over the state. Law enforcement, corrections and members of the public will run in these various community runs.”
Many of the students high-fived the runners and shouted with joy in support as they crossed the finish line.
Bob Hemmingsen of the Transition Plus program said his students couldn’t have been more excited to interact with members from the various police agencies, who were kind enough to let the students sit inside one of the Michigan State Police cruisers after the race.
“This is a great opportunity for the crew members in the program to come out here and support the local officers who have supported them with the Special Olympics throughout the years,” Hemmingsen said. “Today was a great day, a chance for them to see the officers in a different setting.”
Disselkoen said the $500 was raised from the $25 entry fee from each runner, however, he added that many runners donated much more than that.