GREAT FALLS — On Friday afternoon trooper Jim Humiston of the Montana Highway Patrol arrived in Great Falls, to hand off the Flame of Hope to the Great Falls Police Department as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run leading up to the Special Olympics Montana state summer games in Bozeman.
The rain fell hard, but the elements didn’t slow progress. It just meant participants had to take the time to warm up.
Humiston started his morning in Choteau, then biked 50 miles through driving rain making stops in Fairfield and Vaughn to visit athletes before reaching Great Falls.
“I was a little cold and wet,” Humiston laughed. "A little after Fairfield it was a downpour. But all in all it was a great day.”
Once in town, Humiston was joined by athletes from Great Falls for a short jaunt to Riverside Park.
“The rain is nothing to me,” said athlete Nick Roberts, an LETR ambassador. “I have done things in rain like this. It’s no big problem, so yeah.”
This is just one of several legs statewide. The torch run takes a lot of coordination between SOMT staff, community officials and law enforcement.
“We’re running about 40 legs this year, that will cover about 1800 miles in the state of Montana, highways, running, biking,” said LETR Development Director Amy Bliss. "And it involves over 25-30 agencies across the state.”
After a brief reception at the park, the sun came out and it was time for Humiston to pass the torch to members of the Great Falls Police Department, who will ferry the flame to Wolf Creek this evening.
Officer Abby Rodseth recently competed in the Boston Marathon where she finished 60th overall. But this run was something she was excited for.
“This is going to be just a really fun beautiful day, hopefully the sun stays out shining for us,” Rodseth said. "We can escape the rain.”
The State Summer Games begin May 17 in Bozeman.