For the next week, teams representing the Michigan State Police, the Fraternal Order of Police, and Michigan Department of Corrections will be running for a great cause. A torch for the Special Olympics will snake south from Copper Harbor to Belle Isle State Park in the City of Detroit, covering hundreds of miles. It left the Keweenaw’s northernmost point at noon Monday.
This afternoon, the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department is hosting the only community gathering for the entire relay route. Andrea Rachko from Michigan Special Olympics says it was once a staple of the event before the COVID pandemic.
The relay was virtual last year, but still raised $70,000. So far, this edition has already attracted more runners and funds. Money is earmarked towards paying registration fees for Special Olympics participants. Around 25,000 athletes take part each year. The fall sees competition in golf, soccer, and softball. Normally, cycling, flag football, and kayaking are also involved, but not for this year.