The New Hampshire Special Olympics Torch Run was held on Friday on June 1st, 2018. This run is an annual event that helps raise awareness for Special Olympics in the community, and signifies the beginning of the summer Special Olympics. The goal of the “torch” in the run is to reflect the Olympics where a flame is run into the opening ceremonies to signal the beginning of the Olympics.
Oyster River Students who have volunteered to participate in the run are making the trek from Concord, NH to Durham, NH alongside special olympics athletes and a police caravan. There is transportation along the run that allows runners to get off and on throughout the route.
The Oyster River school bus left at 3AM today and drove to the start of the race at 4AM in Concord, NH. The Concord leg of the race is, in total, is about 36 miles. While the Concord leg started running early in the morning other legs across the state started later on in the day, most of them running 5 to 13 miles.
The torch is held by a Special Olympics athlete for the first few miles of the event, and then is continuously passed on to others participating in the run. This is a way to recognize the hard work athletes of the Special Olympics put into competing. “It’s an event they really care about and means a lot to them,” said Jess Leach (18’), a new participant of the run.
The majority of students run anywhere from 7 to 20 miles. Megan Wu, an alumni from ORHS participated in the torch run all of her four years of high school. Wu, who still holds the unofficial title of clocking the most mileage at 30 miles, stated, “I wasn’t allowed to run more than like 8 miles my first two years because I had a meet the next day, but the last two years I wanted to try to run as much as possible,” she said. The hardest part for Wu was undoubtedly, the last leg where the Concord leg is met by every other leg. “After people who didn’t run the first three legs joined in and started taking it really fast. It was then when everyone who started from the beginning got stuck together even more,” said Wu.
Not only is this event for a great cause, and honors the hard work those put into the summer Special Olympics, “it was kind of a bonding experience for a bunch of people who didn’t really talk before, since we were all trying to struggle through,” explained Wu. “I’m really looking forward to this years run. It’s always a memorable experience,” stated Ally Marshall (‘19) and participant of the run. If you didn’t get the chance to sign up for the torch run this year, there’s always the opportunity to participate next year!