Runners braved scorching temperatures and pounded the pavement Thursday for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.
The Myrtle Creek Police Department started the relay off, passing the torch to the Winston Police Department for one section of the 38-mile run.
Around 9 a.m. officers met with Special Olympics athletes at Riverbend Park in Winston.
Pamela Moore, a volunteer coordinator for Oregon’s Special Olympics in Douglas County, said she cried when she heard that law enforcement was still going to hold the run this year after the state competition was canceled due to financial issues.
“With the state games being canceled everyone felt like there were loose ends,” Moore said.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received the torch from Winston police and ran it to the Southgate area to hand it off to members of the Roseburg Police Department.
The event is a mix of walk and drive, where runners take on a few miles at a time before hitting the road to the next location.
Savannah Scriven’s husband works for the sheriff’s office and signed her up for the run.
She drove for the first couple miles and let whoever needed a break hop into the car while she ran down Pepsi Road with the other deputies.
“I thought it would be fun to go out and run it today,” she said.
Kelly Bingham said her autistic daughter came to her after they found out there wasn’t going to be a state meet and asked, “Mom, why am I not going to state?”
“So, I said I’ll try to fix it,” Bingham said.
Bingham said she had 11 days to put on Douglas County’s own version of the games in Riverbend Park.
The city donated the park for the festival, which featured archery, bocce ball, basketball, football and a dunk tank.
“I’m a mom and a coach and I just wanted to make them feel like they needed to feel,” Bingham said.
Melissa Ruddy helped Bingham plan the festival and said it’s been crazy, but there’s a lot of support in the community.
“I’ve seen nothing but smiles on everybody’s faces which makes all the sleeplessness and coffee IVs worth it,” Ruddy said.
Thursday’s run ended in Oakland.