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Law enforcement steps up for Special Olympics

Nanaimo residents will snug up their laces next to Special Olympians and representatives from all branches of local law enforcement at this year's Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

Community law enforcement torch runs, which started in 1981 in Wichita, Kansas, became major international fundraisers that generate millions of dollars annually to supporting Special Olympics.

This year all law enforcement agencies in Nanaimo – including military personnel, sheriffs, B.C. Corrections Branch officers, RCMP members and their supporters – will join the public and Special Olympians for Nanaimo's second running of the event, which leaves the starting line from Maffeo Sutton Park at noon Saturday (June 9).

The five-kilometre run/walk raises awareness for Special Olympics in British Columbia and helps the 130 Special Olympians from the region with training and coaching programs, program development and travel to national and world competitions.

Participants will also meet some of Nanaimo's Special Olympians, like Dennis Lynch, who won gold in cross country skiing at the Canadian Special Olympics 2012 National winter games in St. Albert, Alta., and Ray Lappeleinen, who won silver in track and field running events at the 2011 Special Olympics Summer Games in Greece.

The Nanaimo Tigers floor hockey team also won gold at this year's national winter games.

"These athletes are deserving of the same opportunities that everyone should have," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. "They have overcome many obstacles in their lives and through this program we are giving them the same opportunities that are presented to everyone in our community."

Strollers and pets are welcome at this family-oriented trip around Nanaimo’s waterfront.

Registration is $25 per person and includes an official event shirt.

Save-On-Foods will host a barbecue by donation after the run, plus there will be fun interactive games.

To register, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-755-3257.

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