DANVILLE, Va. – With an escort from the Danville Police Department and Sheriff's Office, 35 runners in purple shirts set off east on Highway 58 near Westside Diner Tuesday morning.
"We'll be running about 8.44 miles," Danville Police Department Cpl. Clarence Goins said.
Law enforcement agencies across Virginia will run more than 1,900 miles this week, carrying the torch that will be used to light the flame at the Special Olympics Games in Richmond this weekend.
In Danville, Goins leads the pack.
"We'll get (the torch) from Martinsville. They'll bring it in and then we pass it on to Pittsylvania County tomorrow," Goins explained. "It's a vital part of the community and it helps a segment of our community that people sometimes forget about. It brings awareness and it raises money to help them out. So we really enjoy doing it."
The torch run has grown into the most important fundraising effort for Special Olympics Virginia.
"We don't have a set goal. Whatever you're able to raise, that's what we raise. We want to raise as much as we can," Goins said.
Goins said the police department and sheriff's office have brought in thousands of dollars over the last few years, contributing to a total of $19 million raised since Virginia's run began in 1987.