A traditional torch run with 1,500 men and women is helping to kick off the Special Olympics in Old Lyme.
The three day event began on Wednesday morning.
The men and women laced up and took off from the Big Y World Class Market on Halls Road.
One group of tight-knit officers said they're carrying on a big tradition.
"You can't even put into words the value and what this means to the athletes of Special Olympics," said Lisa Carlone, Special Olympic Connecticut.
The annual torch run involves hundreds of officers who run more than 500 miles around the state.
It's just one of the many fundraisers they do throughout the year. This year, the non-profit is aiming to raise $600,000 in Connecticut, which would be the highest ever.
"Just to see their face, the joy of participating in the games and doing stuff, it makes them feel like they're a part of something, but it makes us feel like we're part of something bigger and better," said Joseph Carlone, retired, Department of Correction.
Organizers said the admiration the athletes have for the men and women in blue is wonderful to see.
"There is such appreciation for everything that they do," Lisa Carlone said. "Our athletes have always looked upon law enforcement as their heroes."
It's a sentiment that goes both ways.
"They're beyond my heroes," Joseph Carlone said. "They're my mentors. They make me a better person everyday."
The three-day run will end on Friday at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven as the opening ceremony begins.
For the weekend's full schedule of events, visit here.
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