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The Special Olympics Torch Run will once again start its shoreline run at Whelen Engineering in Chester. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Residents of Chester, Deep River and Essex are invited to rally together and show support for the Special Olympics Torch Run on Friday, June 7, which will start its trek to Southern Connecticut State University for opening ceremonies. This year’s run will feature olympians and police personnel carrying the torch through Chester, and organizers are hoping for a good showing of spectators from area towns along the shorter route.
Starting from Whelen Engineering, 51 Winthrop Road, Chester at 7:48 a.m., the run will head north on Winthrop Road, then right onto West Main Street, then right onto Main Street with a stop at 8:30 a.m. on Route 156. From there, cars will drive runners down to Old Saybrook, where the run will gather up again and go through Westbrook, Clinton, Madison, Guilford, Branford, East Haven, and on to New Haven.
Chester-based Brian House, Inc., which provides integrated residential opportunities for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, will have 12 participants in the run.
“It would be so great to get the support of the community for this special event,” said Dawn Parker, director of business development at Brian House. “The Special Olympics are a way for our participants to achieve individual success through exercise, team involvement, and peer interaction. We are very proud of their accomplishments and the Special Olympics is a way to showcase those achievements and accomplishments. Having people come out and cheer on the runners through town would be a great way to show our athletes how much our community supports them.”
This year, according to Parker, Brian House participants will be taking part in swimming, track and soccer events.
Over a three day period, starting on June 5, the Torch Run will cover more than 500 miles and pass through more than 100 cities and towns in Connecticut passing on the Flame of Hope from town to town before it reaches Southern Connecticut State University on June 6 for open ceremonies.
More than 1,500 law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes will participate in this year’s Torch Run event, which is the largest public awareness vehicle and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics.
“We hope everyone will come out and cheer on the officers and athletes who participate in the Torch Run when they pass through their town,” said Special Olympics Connecticut Director of Communications and Marketing Debbie Horne.
Opening ceremonies begin on June 7 at Southern Connecticut State University’s Jess Dow Field at 7:15 p.m. and will run throughout the weekend at Southern Connecticut State University, Yale University, and Hamden Hall athletic fields. The Summer Special Olympic Games will have 25,000 athletes, 500 coaches, and 2,900 volunteers. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.soct.org.
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