The Virginia Special Olympics torch made its way through the streets of Charlottesville and Albemarle County Thursday night, on its nearly 2,000-mile trek to Richmond for this weekend's summer games.
The torch run stepped off bright and early Thursday in Augusta County. Law enforcement officers ran the torch through the Shenandoah Valley - from Harrisonburg to Staunton to Waynesboro - before carrying it to the top of Afton Mountain, where they passed it off to Albemarle County.
Police officers with Charlottesville and Albemarle County ran with the torch for 3.5 miles, down 5th Street and on to the downtown Omni Hotel. Thursday night's run helps raise money for this weekend's Special Olympics games at the University of Richmond.
David Zentmyer, a Special Olympics parent, said, "There's a lot of opportunity for people with special needs, mental disabilities to come out, and so we are always welcoming new athletes to come out."
Following the run Thursday afternoon, participants in Charlottesville and Albemarle cooled off at a reception inside the Omni Hotel.