ITHACA, N.Y. — More than 50 members of local law enforcement flooded the streets of Ithaca Wednesday afternoon in a parade-style run to raise cash for Special Olympics athletes.

The second annual run started in front of the Ithaca police headquarters and snaked though downtown toward Stewart Park. Among the runner were about 20 Special Olympic athletes, including Kinsey Henry, who is competing in the snow shoeing event at the world games in Austria.

“I just like to run and do a lot of speed work,” the 16-year-old Groton resident said, adding that she’s been training for the games for about the past three years.

She’ll be competing in the 100 meter and 200 meter race and said that while she’s not sure what her exact times are in those events, she knows one thing for sure — she’s really fast.

The money raised by law enforcement goes toward ensuring that local athletes can compete in the games free of charge to them and their families.

Cassandra Rucker, Director of Development for the Special Olympics Central Region & Southern Tier, said that in addition to raising funds for the games, the event stands to forge a relationship between those with special needs and law enforcement.

“They’r real-life super heroes,” Rucker said about the way some of the athletes feel about law enforcement. “That’s Justin Bieber. That’s any celebrity…(putting) that medal around their neck.”

Al photos by 13-year-old intern Sam Scott. A video shot from inside the run and more photos will be posted soon.

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.