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UW-River Falls hosts the annual ‘Run with the Cops’ event in support of Special Olympics

October 4, 2018

The third annual “Run with the Cops” event was held at the UW-River Falls campus at Ramer Field this past Tuesday, Oct. 2. This is one of Special Olympics Wisconsin’s biggest events, as they raise money for their athletes. This family friendly event is also held at four other various campuses across Wisconsin.

This event has been an annual fundraiser for Special Olympics Wisconsin as they partner with the Law Enforcement Torch run and has shown tremendous success for the organization. According to the Special Olympics Wisconsin’s website, last year with this event at all four locations they raised “a total of $126,841 with over 1,600 participants”. Each year they set a new goal for each separate event and each year they have broken that goal here at River Falls. This year the organization set that goal at $8,000 and exceeded that number just within their registration fees before the actual date of the event.

According to the Director for Special Events, Karina Tomei, the event had “110 people register before the event took place”. Tomei expressed that she was “absolutely excited” to start planning this event for the first time when she was offered the position back in June of 2018. The event took immense preparation and Tomei said that she “jumped right into planning” as soon as she took the position.

All the fundraising that the Special Olympics Wisconsin organization does, supports their athletes directly. Tomei said that “100% of the money we raise goes straight to our athletes”. This event has grown steadily over the past three years and everyone involved has high hopes for the future growth of the River Falls event. The organization wants to continue to expand and make this event one of their biggest annual affairs.

This event is held after dark and consists of various family fun activities including: a 5k run alongside local cops, a doughnut eating contest and a children’s dash and obstacle course. There are many local volunteers that also put in a lot of time and effort to make the event happen. Jonny Nack from the local Criminal Justice club said this was his “second year volunteering and it is always a fun and rewarding event to be a part of”.

Many local law enforcement departments from Wisconsin helped in support of this event including the St. Croix County Police, Pierce County Police, River Falls Police and the UWRF Campus Police, as well as the local Knights of Columbus. Each department brought various vehicles such as cop cars, a sheriff boat and many others for the public to view and this gave the public an opportunity to talk with the officers. After the Vehicle Expo, the local law enforcement helped to light the way of the path for runners using colorful glow sticks and other glow items to make the event fun. The goal of this specific event was to create an exciting and enjoyable interaction with the public and their local law enforcement while also supporting Special Olympics Wisconsin.

As the Director of this event, Karina Tomei had previously said, this event as potential to expand awareness and continue to grow annually. Being the third event held at the UWRF campus there are high expectations as the Special Olympics Wisconsin organization expands to continue this specific event here again next year.