ARLINGTON — With the help of a police car escort, the runners tackled the first of the hills on Kackman Road north of this city. Sweat rolled down their faces.
Leading the way was Tyler Fryberg of Tulalip, an athletic 20-year-old man who plans to participate in the state’s Special Olympics summer games this weekend at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Fryberg said he plans to compete in the 100- and 800-meter races, the 400 relay and the running long jump.
“It’s my first year to compete at Special Olympics,” Fryberg said. “I try to train five days a week, but mostly three or four days. At the qualifying meet, I won three gold medals and a silver. I don’t want to get too tired running today so I can run on Saturday.”
The 2012 Torch Runners, primarily law enforcement officials volunteering their time, made their way from Starbird Road at the Skagit County line on Thursday morning, down old Highway 99, across Kackman to Highway 9 and then south through Arlington, Marysville and Lake Stevens.
The annual Torch Run, which began Wednesday at the Canadian border in Blaine, continues today through Everett and down to Tacoma.
The run marks the beginning of the fundraising season for Special Olympics Washington, said Marysville Police Lt. Wendy Wade.
“We want to make sure all the Special Olympics athletes have the funds to participate,” Wade said. “We have many people helping with this effort.”
Wade, Marysville detective Cori Shackleton and police technician Patricia Duemmel were among those busy Thursday either running, organizing or shuttling other runners to their relay locations.
On the first big leg of the relay through Snohomish County, they were joined by sheriff’s deputy John Kuska, Duemmel’s grandson Gavin Eagle, Marysville police officer Mike Barnett and his children and Fryberg.
“Tye is inspirational,” Kuska said. “He was pushing us and setting the pace. It’s impressive because he has to compete this weekend.”
Toward the end of his run, Fryberg ran down Olympic Avenue in front of Arlington City Hall and handed his torch off to Arlington police officers Jason Rhodes and Mike Gilbert.
More information about how to donate time and money to Special Olympics Washington is available at www.specialolympicswashington.org.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.