SHOUT OUT: More than 3,000 entrants — including this year’s Bergen County Police Academy class — are set to run through the Lincoln Tunnel and back to Weehawken in tomorrow’s 29th annual Challenge 5K for Special Olympics New Jersey.
“It’s amazing how the event has grown,” Port Authority Police Detective Larry Mays told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“We used to be thrilled if we raised $50,000. We never imagined it would grow this big,” said Mays, the event’s director since 1999. “The response has been humbling.”
As of this morning, more than $180,000 had been raised by those registered to run — including $8,000 by Gerald Iorio.
Although online pre-registration has closed, many are expected to sign up the morning of the race, which begins at 8 a.m. for competitive runners and 8:45 a.m. for non-competitive runners and walkers.
“An annual North Jersey tradition, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge promotes health, wellness and the importance of being active,” said Judith L. Roman, president and CEO of AmeriHealth New Jersey, which is presenting the race sponsored by the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics New Jersey.
“The generous support we have received from all of our sponsors, hosts and volunteers for the last 29 years has made this event successful,” says Jason Schubert, senior director of Law Enforcement Sponsorship at Special Olympics New Jersey. “Because of this, the athletes of Special Olympics New Jersey are afforded the opportunity to train and compete, develop physical fitness, and experience the joy of sport, teamwork and community, completely free of charge.”
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is part of an international campaign for Special Olympics coordinated and managed by law enforcement worldwide. Last year the LETS raised more than $3 million with events that also included polar bear plunges, golf outings and a plane pull.
Special Olympics New Jersey provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 24 Olympic-type sports for more than 25,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, free of charge.
This offers “continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community,” the organization says.
In addition to AmeriHealth New Jersey and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is hosting Sunday’s event.
Sponsors include NJ TRANSIT, WCBS News Radio 880, WFAN Sports Radio, WCBS-FM 101.1, Taylor Management Company, M & M Sanitation, Digital Realty Trust, La Yogurt, Mendon Truck Leasing & Rental, Genpro, Modell’s, Inserra Supermarkets/Shoprite Hoboken, Mary Kay, and Criscione, Ravala & Tabatchouk, LLC.