ELIZABETH/ROSELLE/ROSELLE PARK, NJ - The Special Needs Olympics Torch made its way all over New Jersey Today on Friday, carried by law enforcement officers, some who participate in the Special Olympics and others in support.
Locally, the first run started mid-morning by winding through Elizabeth to a handoff point at the Shop Rite on First Ave. in Roselle. A Police escort brought runners up First Ave, past the Arc of Union County. On Torch Run day their parking lot is filled with special needs people in their wheelchairs and stretchers all waiting to cheer the runners on.
The runners stepped off the street for a few minutes into the lot to shake hands, and do some fist bumps in support encompassing the reason for the Torch Run.
As the group headed out, they made a right on to Walnut St, up and over the bridge and handed off to Officers to go through Roselle Park.
Runners stopped at the Church of Assumption to greet and take photos with a group of people with special needs from Senior Spirit of Roselle Park, before heading off to Cranford.
Later in the afternoon, another group went past the County Court House in Elizabeth where the Pride event was about to start and was greeted by the crowd as they turned to go up Rahway Ave. and head towards Linden.
Video Highlights of both events can be viewed below.
The torch run began in New Jersey in 1984 as a way to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey.
The run is a daylong event split into 26 legs and travels through more than 300 towns covering 750 miles on foot. The legs of the run gradually come together, ending in the evening at The College of New Jersey just-in-time for the lighting of the cauldron at the Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games Opening Ceremony.
Over three thousand runners and 375 police departments participated, led by 48 Torch Run State Committee members. To learn more about this event visit www.NJtorchrun.org.