(Citrus County, FL) The tradition continues on Friday, May 13, 2022, when Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) deputies join in the annual Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run that benefits Special Olympics Florida.

Each year, this signature event highlights the law enforcement community's year-round support of the Special Olympics. Law enforcement officers from around the state carry the “Flame of Hope” in an intrastate relay of simultaneous routes throughout Florida, covering hundreds of miles.

Citrus County's relay participants will meet at the Sheriff's Crystal River Community Resource Office on U.S. Highway 19, where the run will start at 8 a.m. Runners will cover a distance of about 3 miles, traveling east along S.R. 44 to the Publix in the Crystal Springs Plaza at the intersection of C.R. 486. Publix grocery store chain is a premier sponsor of both the Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Florida and will be providing healthy snacks and drinks for all relay participants.

At 9 a.m., bicyclists will ride the second leg of the cross-county relay from there to the Withlacoochee Technical College, about a 14-mile stretch. From that point, runners will complete the relay leg over to the Publix in Inverness. From there, participants and clients from the Key Training Center finish on to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office Operations building in downtown Inverness around 11:30 a.m. Our outstanding partners at CoreCivic, will then be providing lunch for everyone.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run has long been the largest grassroots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle for the Special Olympics program. As in past years, Citrus County’s runners and bicyclists will raise funds for Special Olympics Florida through the sale of commemorative T-shirts. While citizens cannot join in on the run, they are still able to purchase the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run (L.E.T.R.) shirts to support this amazing cause and are encouraged to cheer on participants at either Publix locations or CCSO’s operations building.

Shirts can be purchased at the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Training section in the Park Place building located at 107 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. in Inverness, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Citizens can purchase the shirts with cash or check (payable to L.E.T.R.). cotton short-sleeve shirts are $20.00, dry-fit shirts are $25.00, and women’s cotton razorback tanks are $25.00.

Here in Florida, the Torch Run had its start many years ago as the Special Olympics Mileage Event (SOME) Run, when a handful of officers carried the Flame of Hope throughout the state in a grueling, non-stop run. The SOME Run soon gained momentum, and law enforcement agencies from all over Florida became involved. Eventually, the relay came to be known as the Florida Law Enforcement Torch Run.

We hope you will help light the way for inclusion and support the athletes of the Special Olympics Florida.