CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The race is on as the Special Olympics torch winds its way through the NBC29 viewing area.

Registration has just kicked off on the evening of Thursday, June 7.

Law enforcement officers from across central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley have joined forces to carry the torch 3.1 miles to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.

The course is not going to be easy and it’s very hilly, but officers say they've been training for this and know the course well.

The Heroes Run, which also includes members of the community, is part of an eight-day, 1,900-mile journey to carry the flame of hope to the Special Olympics Summer Games opening ceremony in Richmond.

Teams from the Shenandoah Valley, along with NBC29’s own Eric Pritchett, are taking part in the fun and kicked off the relay on Thursday morning.

Special Olympics Virginia says it's important for people to see all that law enforcement does to promote inclusion in the community.

“It's just great to see all these officers get out here and serve the community, because a lot of people see on the cars ‘serve and protect,’ and only see the ‘protect,’ but they serve the community in a lot of ways and this is one of them," says Matt Camire of Special Olympics Virginia.

So far, the Region 8 team has raised $10,000 for Special Olympics Virginia.