Guardians of the Flame Begin Torch Run

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CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Officers from several Jackson County law enforcement agencies hit the pavement Monday morning to kick off a statewide journey for Special Olympics.

Thirty-nine runners from Medford Police Department, Ashland Police Department, Central Point Police Department, the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, and the Special Olympics participated this year. That’s a few more than the thirty-three runners last year. The 17 mile first leg of the race started near the plaza in Ashland at about 7:30 A.M. and finished at the Oregon State Police Dispatch Center in Central Point around 10:15 A.M. Police escorted the participants so that they could run safely along the side of the road up Highway 99. Eric Thompson has participated in the Torch Run in past years and was the first to carry the torch through Ashland.

“If you hold the torch, or if anybody holds the torch, its a sign to all the athletes that we can always compete and do our best and,  also its a symbol of hope,” Thompson said.

Lt. Budreau with Medford Police said he enjoys participating in the race every year.

“You’re doing it for a good cause, you have people cheering, clapping you on, you’re in a group and you know you’re out there doing the right thing, and it does feel good, and it’s a great way to start the week too,” Lt. Budreau said.

The race coordinators say they raised about $900 for the Summer State Special Olympics games that will be happening this weekend.