If you happened to pass by the Johnson Field House on Thursday, September 28, you might have noticed the flashing lights of a firetruck and several cop cars. Spirits were running high at the Special Olympics annual Run with The Cops 5K while students got ready for the race. Children sporting bright yellow “Run with the Cops” shirts played in the obstacle course put on by volunteers and the Menomonie Police Department.
After five years, the number of participants at the Run with the Cops is still continuously growing, along with the number of cops participating. This year’s weather was much nicer than last year’s, which might have had an impact on the attendance. Along with the run, the event also includes activities for children and stands where participants can buy merchandise and homemade crafts, with all proceeds going to the Special Olympics.
As a few Stout students got ready for the race, they shared their own connections. “My cousin has autism, so to me, this run strikes a chord,” said freshman Megan Mcllharan. Freshman Emily Ransom chimed in, “My mom is a substitute teacher at a school and she works a lot with kids with disabilities. I’m really supportive of her with that, so I try to get involved with things like this as often as I can.” She added, “We don’t have any runs like this from where I am from, so this is really great.”
Glow bracelets and necklaces were given to runners as they raced around Menomonie, following the bright cones at every corner. Their incentives, besides raising money for Special Olympics, were the awards that go to the top male and female finishers of the race. The hard work from the volunteers paid off, as the race was well-received by UW-Stout and the community.