Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - This year the Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run (AK-LETR) and Pledge Drive will take place simultaneously in 14 communities across the state, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 20.
Fu Bao Hartle is a Special Olympic athlete. He joined Capital Chat with his mom, Clare Pavia, to talk about a special event this Saturday.
Alaska Law Enforcement Officers and Special Olympics Alaska community volunteers and athletes will lead a 5K Run/Walk in the following communities: Anchorage, Craig, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su Valley (Palmer/Wasilla), Nome, Seward, Sitka, and Valdez.
It is expected, once again, to be the largest simultaneous multi-community running event held in Alaska this year.
The Juneau event will start at Twin Lakes Shelter at 10:00 am with registration starting at 9:30.
The goal for 2023 is to raise more than $120,000 in pledges for Special Olympics Alaska communities and to have more than 1000 participants, which will include hundreds of Alaska Law Enforcement personnel.
All of the funds raised through the pledge drive will stay in each accredited local community to support Special Olympics Alaska athletes.
The Torch Run has been occurring for over 20 years in both Juneau and nationwide.
"You may not know, but this past February I went down to D.C. for Capitol Hill. It's a nationwide movement called Capitol Hill in D.C.," Hartle shared.
"He met with our Senators and staff from a representative to advocate for Special Olympics. Fu Bao was the athlete that was chosen to represent Alaska," Pavia said. "We met other athletes, and folks from across the nation."
Not only does Hartle represent Special Olympics for Alaska, but he is also a health messenger.
"How to be a spokesperson...that is one of my bigger, biggest goals, to be able to be on the radio like today. Be able to tell everybody in the community what's happening around town," Hartle said. "As a health messenger, I've been an advocate too for people who can't advocate for themselves."
Another impact Special Olympics has had on Hartle is meeting new friends. During the pandemic, he was able to meet with other athletes through Zoom.
Pavia added that they are always looking for more participation.
"If you know someone, or you yourself think you want to do some Special Olympics, in the summertime there's basketball and swimming, and in the fall, there's bowling," she said. "Always looking for volunteers, coaches, and athletes."
For more information, visit specialolympicsalaska.org.
Hartle hopes to see a good turnout this Saturday rain or shine.