Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the "Flame of Hope" into the opening ceremony of local competitions, and into Special Olympics State, Provincial, National, Regional and World Games.
By about 10 a.m.in Berlin, clouds had moved in and a light drizzle started.
The event, he said, has grown from 8,000 athletes whose average age was 37, to 30,000 athletes who are, on average, 16.
More than 3,000 officers take to the streets of their communities, split up into 36 separate legs, and run to raise awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey.
"It's one of the events that a lot of us look forward to every year", she said. "Leonia is unique in that we have two runs that come through our borough making it a challenge to get runners for both, especially the steep run up Fort Lee Road", Garris said. "We brought our horses for you all to see, we've got some four-wheelers if you're into that, [and] we've got all our cars and motorcycles parked up there".
SCV Sheriff's Station deputies join the 2017 Torch Run.
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Each town hands off the torch at the town border to police officers from the neighboring town.
"But it all starts in Ocean City and Berlin", Eade said. It is now in the top fundraising region in the state.
This is the first year that the event was held at Kiwanis Field. Students from the Pequannock Valley Middle School typically run for a portion and donate money as well, Commune said.
It was the latest in a series of torch runs across the region, including those in Prescott and Kemptville Wednesday and in Gananoque earlier Thursday.
"[The athletes] know that you're partnering with them side by side, helping them in their cause", Sergeant Bob Beres says.
The veteran CSP captain said there's not much that compares to the emotional thrill that comes with getting a hug from a Special Olympian.