More than 60 runners, mostly high school students recruited by School Resource Officer Michael Murray, hit the streets of Merrimack on Wednesday morning for the annual torch run relay around the state that kicks of the Special Olympics.
Set to start Friday, the torch run is conducted in communities around the state a a way to bring awareness to the program as well as fundraise to keep the program going.
Murray said this year's number of student runners was down significantly, from around the 80 mark last year, to about 55 this year.
"Apparently I did a little more hardcore recruiting during lunch last year," Murray said.
Fundraising was also lower, but they still brought in around $1,800 for Special Olympics, Murray said.
About a half a dozen police officers also participated in the approximately 9 mile run from the Merrimack/Nashua border to the Merrimack/Bedford border, all run along Daniel Webster Highway. Officer Philip Landsteiner carried the torch during the run, handing it off to a single Bedford officer who would run it through his community to Goffstown.
Landsteiner said it took him about an hour and three minutes to run the 9 miles to meet the Bedford officer.
The torch would make it to Concord by 2 p.m. on Wednesday, where other torches from around the state would convene for a lighting ceremony with Gov. Maggie Hassan. One torch would then begin the relay toward Durham where the summer Olympics-style events will be held this weekend for special needs athletes from around the state.