Special Olympics Torch Run
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Officers from the Altoona Police Department triumphantly carried the Olympic torch through the city Thursday, as part of a lengthy journey raising money for Special Olympics Pennsylvania, but police say a special guest athlete really made them work for it. Altoona police Sgt. Matthew Plummer was part of the first team of runners to carry the torch. "There were two of us from Altoona police Department who started the opening leg, which is out at PNC Park in Pittsburgh," Plummer said. From there, law enforcement officers carried the Olympic flame east, heading toward the opening ceremonies in State College. On Thursday morning, Altoona police ran their leg before passing the torch to Hollidaysburg state police. "Our leg here in Altoona is just under 7 miles. There were maybe five or six officers that ran the entire 7 miles," Plummer said. "We had probably 15 participate in the entire run." Each participant helped raise money to support the games. "The run raised $35,000 for Special Olympics Pennsylvania," Plummer said. Plummer said the Special Olympics is an important cause for the APD and for Plummer personally. "Growing up I was involved with Special Olympics. I have a close family member who is in the Special Olympics," Plummer said. On Thursday, Altoona police got to run alongside one of those athletes. Special Olympian Scott Harding competes as a distance runner in the games. He's about to graduate from Altoona Area High School. "He ran probably the first 3 1/2 miles with us and he pushed us. We had to keep up with him. We almost had to tell him to slow down because he was pushing us the whole way," Plummer said. "So it was really awesome having him there for the motivation and the students got to come out and cheer him on, so it was a great event." Plummer said Altoona police officers won't be hanging up their running shoes anytime soon.