Pilot Staff Reports

Volunteer runners on Wednesday carried the Oregon Special Olympics Torch Run on Highway 101 north through Curry County — an annual show of support for athletes competing in the Special Olympics State Summer Games in Corvallis this weekend.

The torch, referred to as the “flame of hope,” crossed into Oregon Wednesday morning and was carried through Harbor and Brookings before being handed off to volunteers who carried it north.

In Gold Beach, a group of 60 people that included Special Olympic athletes, police officers, firefighters and other community members carried it down Ellensburg Avenue, with an escort by the Oregon State Police and Gold Beach Police Department.

Gold Beach Police Chief Dixon Andrews, a coach for the Curry County Special Olympics, said the stars of the run were local athletes who “demonstrated, strength and courage, and good sportsmanship.”

About 20 athletes from Curry County will compete with people from all over the state in events like the 50-meter dash, 4x100-meter relay, shot put and walking events. The meet is one of their biggest events of the year, and the result of months of practice for the athletes, according to Andrews.

The athletes meet about once a week to practice, gathering at the track in Brookings each Saturday. Sometimes the athletes do individual training during the week, taking walks and staying active.