Torch Run set for May 19

Group will run for Special Olympics from Pee Dee River to Hinson Lake

By Kevin Spradlin

* Course map

ROCKINGHAM — The 2014 North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics rolls through Rockingham on Monday.

torchrunRichmond County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Edwards is spearheading the local run from the Pee Dee River along Highway 74 to Hinson Lake, a distance of approximately 9.5 miles. Participating agencies include the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Rockingham Police Department, the Hamlet Police Department and the local North Carolina Probation and Parole office.

Edwards said the Richmond County run has been staged for about 15 years.

“There are several torches that go across the state,” Edwards said. “They all end up in Raleigh at about the same time.”

Edwards said it will take between two and three hours to complete the supported run, which is made safe by a police vehicles for visibility. The group is followed by an ambulance for extra measure. The projected pace converts to between 12 minutes and 38 seconds to 18:57 per mile.

“It’s not a fast-paced (run),” Edwards said. “I’ve done it every year, pretty much the whole thing. We have people who do part of it, get out and then ride for a little bit.”

The run is cautiously open to the public, Edwards said.

The event is “normally just law enforcement. “I don’t want it to run into something I can’t handle, but if there were several people who were avid runners” who wanted to participate, that’d be alright.

Most years, between 25 and 30 people run at least a part of the distance. Edwards encouraged anyone thinking about running to be “in halfway decent shape.”

Participants will meet behind the sheriff’s office in downtown Rockingham by 7:30 a.m., consolidate vehicles and then drive to the start point, located at the Pee Dee River access at the Richmond County line off Highway 74 immediately before the Pee Dee River bridge.

Then they’ll run back by way of Highway 74 Business, left on Long Drive and right onto East Washington Street before turning right onto the gravel road that is Hinson Lake Road.

According to an unofficial course elevation profile from, Mile 2, in the early going, and Mile 7, along Highway 74 Business from just east of U.S. Route 1 to just shy of Pickett Street, will be the two most challenging uphill portions of the route. Unofficially, the route has 1,064 feet of elevation change including 571 feet of total climbing.

Edwards said he’s hopeful that some Special Olympics athletes will participate by either riding along or even running a portion of the route.

“They’ll ride a little bit, run a little bit, ride a little bit, throw out water” to runners, Edwards said. “It’s a pretty good time for them, too.”

Edwards said the purpose of the torch run is to raise awareness for Special Olympics programs and athletes.




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