NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of Connecticut police officers hit the road on Thursday with the “Flame of Hope” guiding the way. The torch not only represents the Special Olympics, but what is possible.  

The lighting of the torch in North Branford is a sign that day two of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Connecticut is underway.

“They run a total of 530 miles over the course of the three days of the torch run,” said Taryn Prostano, the events coordinator of Special Olympic Connecticut.

This marks the 36th year for the run, an annual fundraiser benefitting Special Olympians in the area. This summer, the games include track and field.

“And then they’ll participate in basketball during the winter and golf. They have 26 sports.”

For Mathew and Brian Hannon, it’s a family affair. Their stepmom retired from Special Olympics Connecticut but got them involved at the age of nine.

”I was kind of ‘volun-told’ at that age,” North Branford Sgt. Brian Hannon said. “It’s a good thing. It’s for a good cause.”

As the Flame of Hope crisscrosses the state, more than 1,500 officers from cities and towns will have participated by the time it reaches its final destination.

”I’ve done it about four or five times over the years, and it’s something to give back to the community,” North Haven Police Lt. Christopher Spose said.

The Torch Run for Special Olympics for Connecticut ends Friday, June 3. For these officers, the next stop will be West Hartford. If you see them along the way, give them a wave of encouragement.

For Torch Run routes and schedules, click here.

Fairfield University will host our soccer, swimming and tennis events on June 4 and June 5, and cycling will take place at 181 West Johnson Rd. in Cheshire that same weekend.

The track and field competition will take place at Southern Connecticut State University on June 11 and 12.

Learn more about the 2022 Summer Games here.