JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The torch was lit and they were off.
The 30th annual Special Olympics torch run included more than 75 Special Olympic participants and more than 100 police officers from 20 local law enforcement agencies.
"It's a really great honor to be out here to support them and encourage them. It's a wonderful time. When you look at the determination on their faces. You realize wow. You wouldn't want to e any other place," says JSO Lt. Tony Davis.
Among the running crowd is 22-year-old Megan Bell, who is running for a group called 'Never Say Never' and is a member of the North Florida School of Special Education. "I try my best -- surfing, running," says Bell.
Bell is an avid runner, swimmer and surfer. She even participated in the Gate River Run a few weeks ago. She says knowing police officers have her back makes her feel special.
"It feels good. Power with the police," she says. But it was more than just police officers who ran this morning.
Teachers, coaches and local military members also laced up their running shoes. "Our biggest thing is to give back to the local community from a Navy standpoint. We want to just give back and ensure that they're given the best chance that they can to go out and do the things that they're strong enough to do," says runner Jim Brennan.
Things like cheerleading for the River City All-stars and running for Bell, who says without the support from her community, all this wouldnt be possible. "It helps a lot of programs," she says.
All proceeds from today's event will benefit the state's Special Olympics program.
The regional Special Olympics games for our area are this weekend at Atlantic Coast High School beginning at 9 a.m.