WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Making a Run for Special Athletes

Macomb, IL – Law enforcement agencies from McDonough County made a run to Warren County on Wednesday morning. The officers were participating in a portion of the western Illinois leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

Macomb Police Lieutenant Dave Burnham said the torch run is the largest year-round fundraiser for the games in Illinois.

"All the legs from across the state - I think there are 22 different legs - they all converge on Normal for the summer games that will start Friday (June 11)," said Burnham.

Representatives from the Macomb Police Department, the WIU Office of Public Safety, Illinois State Police District 14, and the McDonough County Sheriff's Department gathered with family, friends, and supporters at Chandler Park for the start of the event.

The runners planned to meet in Monmouth with Warren County law enforcement representatives and end their journey at the Monmouth square.

Burnham helped organize the 33 mile run from Macomb to Monmouth. He said the money raised will help fund the Special Olympic games.

"It (the games) gives the Special Olympians an opportunity to get out there and be part of the general population so that they have a sense of being," said Burnham.

He said $500 had been raised before the torch run. He said anyone else wishing to contribute can contact him at the Macomb Police Department at (309) 833-4505, extension 8121.

Special Olympian D.J. Doughty was on hand for the start of the run. Doughty said he's participated in the games for 20 years.

"I've had a good experience making friends. Being with all my teammates. It makes me happy," said Doughty.

Doughty said he will compete in the 200 meter run and the shot put during the statewide Special Olympics.

Doughty said the Special Olympics give people with learning disabilities a chance to try professional sports.