Special Olympics run weaves through Claremont

The streets of Claremont were filled with smiling faces on Wednesday afternoon as members of the city’s police department and local athletes hit the pavement to raise awareness for Special Olympics Southern California and their mission.

Claremont police employees including explorers, dispatchers, patrol staff, records clerks and jailers ran over two miles through the center of town as they participated in the Law Enforcement’s Special Olympics Torch Run on June 10.

Athlete Michael Evans from the Pomona Valley Chapter of Special Olympics lead the charge, taking the torch from Upland PD before passing it off to his fellow teammates and friends. Athletes Kenny Williams and Austin Frederick, both from Claremont, had their moment carrying the torch, as did athletes Travis Ewert, Jimmy English and numerous runners from the Claremont police.

“We look forward to joining the athletes every year and participating in this run,” said Claremont Captain Shelly Vander Veen. “It’s great to see everyone come together as a department and as a community to support the Special Olympics and their mission.”

During the latter part of May and June, Law Enforcement officers throughout southern California carry the torch 1,500 miles across the southland through 200 communities with the purpose of spreading awareness to the Special Olympics and to promote unity and respect for all. This year, Claremont police staff that participated in the torch run raised $550 in donations to Special Olympics.

The Claremont runners received the torch at Foothill Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue at approximately 1:50 p.m. and continued the pace westbound along Route 66 to Williams Avenue, where they handed off the torch to the La Verne Police Department.

For Russell Evans, area director of Special Olympics Pomona Valley, seeing the enthusiasm on the faces of those who participate is its own reward.

“The Claremont Police Department has always been a strong supporter,” he says. “Their support of the athletes is great, the turnout today is great. Who could ask for anything more?”

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the kick-off of what is sure to be an exciting summer here in Claremont as the town prepares to welcome some of the finest athletes from around the world.

On January 27, the city council approved Claremont’s participation as a Special Olympics World Games 2015 host town. The city will host approximately 100 athletes, trainers and support staff as they prepare for their participation in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games opening July 25, 2015 in Los Angeles. The athletic delegations will arrive to Claremont in the days prior to the World Games to get acclimated, rest and train for their events.

The Host Town program in Claremont is a collaboration between the city, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College and Scripps College to provide the delegations with food, housing  and entertainment during their stay in the City of Trees.

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit LA2015.org and on social media with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Angela Bailey



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