CONWAY — Local police officers today will be running a leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, which will eventually carry the flame of hope 600 miles around the state over the next few weeks.

In total, over 700 officers from 120 police agencies will be participating statewide.

The local leg will start at about 8:30 a.m. at the intersection of Route 16 and Ridge Road in Jackson. It will proceed south and end up at the Conway Village Fire Department at 128 West Main St., Conway Village.

According to Conway Police Lt. Chris Mattei, "Local law enforcement and several of their family members will be running in the southbound lane of traffic down Route 16, surrounded by police cruisers as escorts."

Mattei said he doesn't expect traffic to be disrupted too much, except at narrow spots and intersections.

Spectators may watch from spots along the route, including in front of Zeb's General Store at 2675 White Mountain Highway, North Conway; L.L. Bean, 1390 White Mountain Highway, North Conway; and Conway Market Place, 50 White Mountain Highway, Conway.

Mattei, who is the leg leader for the Jackson-Bartlett-Conway portion of the run, said he expects runners will be passing through North Conway at about 10:20 a.m.

Statewide, the run goes from the top of New Hampshire to the bottom. The course map isn't one straight line, however, but many lines.

The series of legs do not all take place at the same time or even consecutively.

The Ossipee-Wolfeboro run took place May 18. The runs are set to conclude May 31.

"It has been my honor to help local law enforcement bring awareness to this great organization," Mattei said of the Special Olympics. "We never have a shortage of law enforcement personnel from Jackson, Bartlett or Conway willing to lace up their running shoes to complete the 17-mile run from Jackson to Conway.

Special Olympians will be running the last quarter-mile from Echo Group to Conway Fire.

"I would like to thank the North Conway and Conway Fire Departments and the Conway Recreation Department for their help each and every year with providing support through vehicles and manpower to make this event such a success. So if you see us running by on Thursday, feel free to cheer us on as we all do our best to support the athletes competing this year," Mattei said.

The mission of Special Olympics New Hampshire is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other athletes and the community.

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