EUCLID, Ohio (WJW) – Running with a purpose.

The Flame of Hope was carried from Wickliffe in Lake County to members of the Euclid Police Department; running west on Euclid Avenue, stopping traffic along the way.

“The people are waving, they’re happy to see us,” Euclid Police Captain Mike Janson said. “It’s just a great partnership between the youth and the athletes for the special Olympics and the police department.”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ohio is back this year as an intrastate relay, involving police officers running hundreds of miles.

Founded in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas, the run is now the movements largest public awareness and fundraising group, carrying the flame into opening ceremonies of local competitions, not only in Ohio, but nationwide.

Euclid Police have been participating for the past 20 years.

“Normally we have the athletes come and we meet them and we walk with them down shore center but they didn’t arrange that today so,” Janson said.

WJW photo

And the torch run does not end here in Euclid. It will continue to Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio. The final leg in Columbus, later this week.

The Flame of Hope will be carried into the summer games opening ceremonies at the Ohio State University this Friday, where special needs athletes of all ages will be present.

The flame symbolizing courage, perseverance and inclusion for all.

“It’s gotta give them a great sense of accomplishment,” Janson said. “Something to work towards, give them a goal, yeah, I think it’s awesome for them. And it’s great to be a part of it.”