Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Final Leg Team Update - 17 April 2015

The time is getting ever closer and at this moment we are just 123,210 minutes away from the beginning of our Final Leg adventure.

All of the plans are coming together and I am getting more excited as each minute passes.  The incredible Final Leg Logistics Team has not left a stone unturned in their efforts to make this the most impactful and memorable Final Leg event ever!

I wanted to bring you up to speed on a couple of things.  First and foremost, we welcome a new member of the Final Leg Team, S├ębastien Charlebois from Quebec, Canada.  S├ębastien replaces Patrick Denis from Quebec who unfortunately had to drop out due to an injury that would prevent him from running by the time the Final Leg event rolls around.

There have been a couple minor changes in the speaking schedule due to changes in our schedule.  Please review the attached schedule carefully to make sure that you know here you are speaking!  In regards to your speaking assignments, as we discussed previously, law enforcement officers, please be thinking of 2-3 gift items to bring and present to dignitaries at your assigned ceremony.  Police and Torch Run related items are the best items to bring—or something symbolic from your state, province, or nation. This does not have to be anything of great value, but something that is thoughtful and appropriate.  Special Olympics athletes, we have produced special 2015 Final Leg medallions for you to present, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any presentation items unless you want to. 

The runs have all been finalized on all three of the routes and we have some great runs that will create a lot of excitement as we run into the various ceremony locations.  All of these running routes have been created with “purpose.”  In other words, we will not be running past cornfields or cow pastures or down vacant city streets.  We will be running to fulfil our mission of creating excitement for the 2015 Los Angeles World Games and Special Olympics!  Our average run is going to be less than a mile into each ceremony.  There will be a few exceptions.  An example,  the run across the Golden Gate Bridge (truly a once in a life-time opportunity!) will be a 1.9 mile run followed by a 2 mile run along the waterfront to Aquatic Park.  After lunch there will be another 1.1 mile run to City Hall for a total of 5 miles of running for that day.  This is less than the average total miles for a typical day of running, but longer runs, instead of more short runs. 

Remember, these “runs” are 10-12 minute mile pace and no one will be forced to run beyond their capability.  The better shape you are in and prepared for the Final Leg, the more you will enjoy it!

I have heard a lot of great things already about pre-Final Leg publicity for our runners and athletes.  We have put together a boilerplate press release that your agency and/or Torch Run/Special Olympics programs can send out to the local press to recognize you and all of the individuals that you will be representing in your state/country on the Final Leg.  I have also attached a “guidance sheet” in that regard.  Special Olympics, Inc. and the GOC will be making a worldwide release about the Final Leg Team in the near future.  The attached press release is more for your local media to provide them with information and hopefully create more awareness for Special Olympics and the Torch Run in your home towns, states and countries.  

I’m sure you have heard about the Unified Relay Across America.  Special Olympics' Unified Relay Across America is a historic event with three simultaneous torch runs, held from East Coast to West Coast, to kick-off the Special Olympics World Games in July 2015.  For more than 33 years, law enforcement officers have been volunteering together to champion acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities through the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.  Lighting the way to a future of inclusion, law enforcement officers have used the Flame of Hope as our beacon to unite their communities in acceptance.  This year, we will take our role as Guardians of the Flame to a new level as we champion the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America.

For those of you from U.S. programs, this is a great opportunity to utilize your Final Leg “celebrity” status by participating in the Unified Relay to raise money and create awareness in your local program.  For more information on the Unified Relay Across America, please visit:  www.unifiedrelay.org  

I hope that everyone has had the opportunity to download the Final Leg Event Guide.  This document provides a lot of information about our event and can be especially helpful to you in the event you are interviewed about your participation as a result of the local media outreach from the press release.  To download a copy, please go to:  

I am aware that several of you are staying over for a few days after the conclusion of the Final Leg event to go to the Games.  If you are doing this and would like to get Honored Guest credentials, please let me know right away and I will make the appropriate arrangements.  This will allow you greater access and some other amenities. 

As we get closer, please start memorizing our Final Leg cadences!  We will be singing our hearts out along the routes letting everyone know who we are and what we are doing!   Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, where we come from, so we tell them.  We are the Torch Run, mighty, mighty Torch Run……………

That’s it for now!  Please don’t hesitate to contact your Running Team Leader or me if you have any questions or concerns.  Let’s continue to keep the momentum going!  This is going to be an unbelievable event and a historic opportunity to help spread awareness for Special Olympics and our Torch Run efforts throughout the beautiful state of California.  TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!

Wishing you all the very best;

John Newnan

Team Captain
2015 Los Angeles Final Leg

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