Olympic torch ignites the start of this year's Special Olympics - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Olympic torch ignites the start of this year's Special Olympics

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MARION, IL (KFVS) -

Local law enforcement officers took to the streets of southern Illinois to raise funds for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois, in the 2013 Law enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

"It's that smile on their face, and that they are all so happy to see us is just really, really rewarding," says Shelby Counts.

She along with 24 other Criminal Justice Students took part in the run, despite the heat, to kick off the games.

"To be able to give back financially and personally our time and of just completing something like this," says Sarah Stevenson.

Their efforts raised more than $2,000 this year.

Last year, the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run raised almost $3 million dollars statewide, making it the second highest grossing event in the world.

Runners took on 12 miles from Carbondale's City Hall to Marion's Rent One Park.

Some runners say there is always something that keeps them coming back every year.

"Participants after every leg, shake our hands, and it actually shows just how much they appreciate what we do for them," says Salvador Tomas.

The games will start June 14 in Normal, Illinois.

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