GREAT FALLS — Due to social distancing requirements, this year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Montana will take on a new look.
Participants will still collectively run the 2200 miles they do every year, just while observing social distancing rules.
Runners can log miles using an elliptical or treadmill, or while hitting the trails as long as they remain 6 feet apart from others.
As of Thursday, Montana law enforcement had logged over 320 miles, nearly 1/7 of their 2200 mile goal.
Officers aren’t the only ones getting involved, either.
Montana Torch Run Director, Sgt. Tina Hoeger of the Billings Police Department, said Special Olympic athletes have been participating too.
“What I really like about it, is that the athletes are getting involved as well. Some of them are walking, some of them are running or doing bicycle, or whatever they can to contribute to this mileage,” Hoeger said.
Hoeger has been involved in the torch run practically as long as she’s been in law enforcement and has greatly benefited from her community engagement.
“The athletes do more for us than we could ever possibly do for them, because every day those athletes have so much working against them and they still get out every day, they get up every day. So, the reason I keep going back is because I don’t know any other way. This is a part of my life and it has been and I'm grateful for it,” Hoeger said.
Hoeger hopes that this year’s virtual run can provide a source of positivity.
“I'm hoping that this virtual one is going to keep people encouraged and engaged and communicating while we’re in this very strange time,” Hoeger said.
By raising awareness of the run, law enforcement intends to raise funds for the athletes they care so much about.
“Usually the torch run brings in about $80,000 a year just for the run. It all goes back towards our athletes to help them,” Hoeger said.
If you’d like to donate to this year’s torch run, click here.