By Alan Sorensen
Area law enforcement officers are sponsoring their annual Torch Run in support of the Montana Special Olympics Thursday.
The run gets under way at 7 a.m. in front of Tire-Rama on West First Street. The runners and bikers will try to cover the distance from Havre to Great Falls within a day, Shawn Ostberg, a Havre police officer and leg leader for the Havre area, said.
They anticipate pulling into Great Falls between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Friday.
The Torch Run participants are taking pledges and will collect donations to the Special Olympics along the way. People donating $10 or more will be given a colorful T-shirt honoring the Special Olympics. Ostberg said donations will be accepted anytime.
Proceeds from the run will be used to offset costs associated with putting on Special Olympics events.
The run is one of a half dozen or so around the state that converge at various points before arriving in Billings on May for the kickoff of the Montana Summer Special Olympics in Billings.
Ostberg said several local sponsors are assisting the law enforcement personnel put on the run. Support donations have been received from Albertsons, Gary and Leo's IGA, Culligan, Coca Cola, and Havre Health Food.
Ostberg said Hill County Undersheriff Don Brostrom and Detention Center Supervisor Jamie Ross have committed to participate, along with Havre police officers and county deputies.
Some members of the Havre units of the Montana Highway Patrol and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Police are expected to participate.
The runners/bikers will meet at the police department at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, move over to Tire-Rama for the 7 a.m. start. They'll run up First Street to Fourth Avenue West, head south to West Second Street, run west past the Hill County Justice Center, turn south behind the fairgrounds and run over the hill past the middle school, then turn right and take Post Road out to U.S. Highway 87 and head for Great Falls.
Anyone interested in seeing the runners off is welcome at Tire-Rama at 7 a.m. Thursday.