Organizers in Homer are coordinating Special Olympics Torch Run activities with the U.S. Coast Guard this year as the date of the event May 21 coincides with Armed Forces Day.
The 5-kilometer family run, conducted by law enforcement agencies simultaneously in cities and towns across the state, also will be run in Kenai and Seward on the Kenai Peninsula.
Officially called the Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run and Pledge Drive for Special Olympics Alaska, the event raises funds for Special Olympics athletes, people affected by a number of mental disabilities who compete with each other in sporting events.
The run is for the entire family, according to Team Homer Special Olympics Alaska area director Linda Thompson. It is not a race, she said.
People may run, walk, stroll, jog, ski or roller blade their way to the finish line. The run is for all ages.
In Homer, the event begins at the base of the Homer Spit and goes out to the Heritage Park campground near the Fishing Hole. In Kenai, the run begins on Willow Street across from the Kenai Police Department. Exit Glacier is the starting point for the Seward run.
The runs start at 10 a.m. Single entry registration is $15, or $25 if the participant wants a specially designed T-shirt.
Thompson, whose son, Erik Behnke, 28, has Down Syndrome and autism, said the event began several years ago when "law enforcement (in Alaska) felt a commitment to raise funds for Special Olympics."
Run participants are encouraged to sign up sponsors who will pledge money in exchange for their participation.
Registration and pledge forms are available at Homer, Kenai and Seward police stations.
Thompson said she hopes Homer has more than the dozen or so runners who showed up last year. She said the run has been conducted there for six years.
"Not everyone has the personality to go out and get pledges, so some just make the $25 donation," Thompson said.
Pledges account for a significant portion of the fund-drive proceeds and 100 percent of the money goes to supporting the sports and competition programs in Alaska.
For more information, people may call the Torch Run hot line toll free at (888) 499-7625, ext. 7, or visit the Torch Run Web site at www.special olympicsalaska.org.
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