WEST END, OH (FOX19) - The 30th annual Ohio Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics kicked off Wednesday.
The event begins in Sandusky and spans throughout the week in the cities of Cincinnati, Athens, Toledo, Cambridge and Euclid.
The Cincinnati leg start at the Cincinnati Police Memorial on Ezzard Charles Drive across the street from Cincinnati Police District 1 Headquarters in the West End.
For three days, the southern Ohio torch leg will makes its way through Springdale, Middletown, Franklin, Miamisburg, Centerville, Dayton, Xenia, Springfield, London, and West Jefferson into Columbus.
In addition to raising awareness and funds for Special Olympics, runners will be honoring law officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and gave their lives in the past year, to protect the public.
Runners will represent all facets of law enforcement in Ohio, from city and township police, to county sheriffs' offices, and federal agencies, all working together to benefit Special Olympics.
Back in 1985, the run had about 30 officers and raised a little over $1,000. Last year, nearly 2,000 participants from all facets of law enforcement, townships and villages; cities and counties and state and federal agencies raised more than $560,000 for Ohio Special Olympic athletes.
Worldwide last year, the torch run raised more than $51.8 million.
The Torch Run has been recognized as the largest grass root fundraising program for a charity in the world.
Ohio's run is part of the larger International Law Enforcement Torch Run that began in in Wichita, Kansas, in 1981. The Flame of Hope now runs to support Special Olympics Athletes in 46 countries