Local News

Davis PD carries the torch for Special Olympics athletes

By June 21, 2011

The Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” will reach its final destination Friday afternoon when Davis police officers carry the torch through downtown Davis. They’ll deliver it to UC Davis police officers, who will then carry the torch to Aggie Stadium for Friday’s opening ceremonies of the Northern California Special Olympics Summer Games.

It will have been a long and winding road to the Special Olympics cauldron at Aggie Stadium, with more than 500 law enforcement officers from all over Northern California participating in the torch run over the course of two weeks.

On the final day of the torch run, the California Highway Patrol will hand the torch over to the Woodland Police Department, whose officers will then deliver it to Davis police officers on the Highway 113 overpass at County Road 29.

Davis police officers will then carry the torch five miles into downtown Davis. They don’t expect it to be an easy run.

“Five miles, the distance, isn’t that bad,” said Sgt. John Wilson. “But we’re the hottest leg of any of the torch legs.”

Wilson said Davis torch-bearers won’t receive the torch from their Woodland counterparts until 2 p.m. at the earliest, so they’ll be running into the hottest part of the day — something they’re used to, as they’ve been carrying the torch on its penultimate leg for many years now.

Wilson himself has done it more than a dozen times, he said.

Participating offers usually train by regularly running during the hottest part of the day in order to be acclimated. However, the late arrival of summer heat prevented that, Wilson noted. Still, the dozen or so officers who will run the full five miles have been training as much as they can.

The Davis contingent will run from the Highway 113 overpass along County Road 29 to F Street. From there, they will head down to Second Street, and then over to campus. Spectators can expect them to come through downtown at around 3 p.m., Wilson said.

Even when the torch is safely delivered into the hands of university police, Davis police officers will continue to enjoy the benefits of their efforts.

“Over the years, we’ve had officers that got into foot pursuits and chased people down, and they said if they hadn’t trained for the torch run, they couldn’t have done it,” Wilson said.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or (530) 747-8051.

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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