Brian Kretz almost left his police escort in the dust as he went charging up Wolfe Grade on Thursday morning.
Kretz, a Novato resident, joined the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics. He'll be at UC Davis the weekend of June 22-24 competing in the 1,500 meter run during the Special Olympic Games. He won a gold medal last year and says his best time is 5 minutes, 30 seconds in the event.
"It means a lot to me. You get to meet people, freinds, old friends from different counties. It's just the fun of it," Kretz said.
Local police officers, including San Rafael Police Department, California Highway Patrol officers and Marin County Sheriffs Deputies joined the torch run that started from the Marin County Civic Center at 8 a.m. The run raises funds and awareness for Special Olympics.
"We got tremendous support all the way through San Rafael. Everyone was slowing down and staying safe," said Mill Valley Police Officer Ian Madison, who helped carry the torch. Madison, a veteran of the torch run, was joined by Megan Pang, who works in the Mill Valley PD Records Department.
The parade jogged up Doherty Drive for a stop at the new Twin Cities Police Headquarters around 10 a.m., then continued past Redwood High School. The route took officers and supporters into Mill Valley and eventually to the Golden Gate Bridge for a handoff to the San Francisco Police Department.
Twin Cities Police Officer Patty Monge, another veteran of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, was determined to make the entire 18-mile trek.
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is a major fundraiser for the Northern California Special Olympics. It has raised more than $6 million dollars since its inception in 1998.
Overall, more than 1,000 members of the Northern California Law Enforcement community and Special Olympics Northern California athletes will participate in the two-week torch run, which started June 8.
More than 900 athletes and volunteer coaches from all over Northern California will join the competition at UC Davis. After weeks of training and participating in qualifying competitions, athletes will compete in aquatics, bocce, tennis or track and field.