Yesterday, I had the honor to light the torch in Washington, DC for the kick-off of the Unified Relay Across America. This flame was originally lit at the sacred site of the Pinyx on May 14th under the careful watch of Alex Kappis, a Final Leg Logistics Team member from Greece. Alex guarded the flame and maintained its’ integrity. The flame eventually made it way to the United States thanks to our great partners at UPS who flew the flame from Greece to Philadelphia. After the torch was lit in Washington, DC yesterday, the flame began its 46 day journey through all 50 U.S. states, raising funds for Special Olympics and creating untold awareness along the way. On July 10th, the Team Leaders of the Final Leg Team will accept the torch back from the Unified Relay Across America as we begin our mission of creating awareness for Special Olympics throughout the state of California and building excitement for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
You will be in LA before you know it! The next 3,826,796 seconds are going to fly by and you will be landing at Los Angeles International Airport to begin your Final Leg mission!
At the airport you will be greeted by uniform members of the LAX police near your baggage claim area and will be directed to a rendezvous point where members of our Logistics Team will escort you on a ten minute fun filled ride to our arrival hotel, the Westin LAX. I will provide a little more detail on your arrival and transport to the hotel as we get a little closer.
I hope everyone has been keeping up with their e-mails as there have been quite a few time changes for the flights that our team members have been booked on. Every team member affected by any flight change received a direct e-mail from Garber FCM Travel detailing those changes.
There is a very exciting amenity that each team member will receive that I thought you should know about in advance in the event you were going to purchase these. Thanks to Team #2 Leader, Bill Proll, who has a high level contact with Oakley, each team member will be receiving a pair of Oakley sunglasses valued at $160!!!! Through Bill’s effort, Oakley has even personalized the sunglasses with the Final Leg logo! THANKS Bill!!!! You may want to buy Bill a refreshment (or two) when you see him!
We have had several changes on the Final Leg and due to an unforeseen circumstance, one team member, Jeff Miller from South Dakota, had to drop out and is unable to be replaced by his program. Two other members had to drop out and have been replaced, Jenny Dennis from New Mexico is being replaced by Ana Ortiz and Robin Mungo from Pennsylvania is being replaced by Christine McShea. Welcome aboard Ana and Christine!
Since we have some new additions to the team along with some minor modifications to ceremony sites, we have just published version II (the FINAL version) of the 2015 Los Angeles Final Leg Event Guide. This Guide is available for download through Dropbox at:
I hope that everyone has passed along the media template to your Special Olympics/Torch Run programs as well as your law enforcement agency to help create awareness for your participation in the 2015 Los Angeles Final Leg, awareness for Special Olympics and excitement for the World Games. I have seen a number of stories already about our team members and they are great! There was a great KABC story in Los Angeles about the Final Leg. Please check it out at:
So, the countdown is on and you should really be starting to think about what you are going to pack to bring with you. As I stated before, you should pack light!!! Everything you bring you, you will be carrying with you (except your law enforcement uniforms for Opening Ceremonies) along with the gear that you will receive. You will be receiving most of the clothes that you will be wearing for the duration of the event. If you need a reminder of what you should bring with you, please refer to my previous communications that can be found on our Final Leg website at www.letr-finalleg.org
VERY IMPORTANT If you wear a uniform, you are expected to bring your summer dress uniform with you for participation in Opening Ceremonies (including your hat). For those of you that don’t wear a uniform, you will be involved as well. We will store your uniforms securely upon your arrival and deliver them back to you prior to the Opening Ceremonies. NO guns or weapons of any kind including handcuffs are permitted. This applies to local California officers as well. If you wear a Sam Brown belt or other accoutrements on your uniform, remove your holster and handcuff case, ASP batons, Tasers, etc. from your belt.
OK, it’s time for a run! I’ll be back in three miles or 31 minutes and 30 seconds if anyone has any questions. That’s a 10 minute 30 second mile, an average pace for our Torch Runs in California….please be prepared!
The excitement is building!!!! We are now only 51 days away from the start of the Final Leg and our important mission to build excitement for the 2015 Los Angeles World Games and awareness for Special Olympics throughout the great state of California and around the world!
I hope that your programs have taken advantage of the boilerplate media release that we sent to you several weeks ago to begin building excitement and creating awareness in your own communities!
Yesterday, the Flame of Hope arrived in the United States after being lit on the sacred site of the Pnyx in Athens, Greece on May 14th. The Flame is now being entrusted to law enforcement officers who will be Route Leaders on the three routes of the historic Unified Relay Across America, traversing thousands of miles across the United States touching all 50 states and spreading awareness for Special Olympics in a manner never done before.
On July 10th, Team Leaders from the Final Leg will receive the Flame of Hope from the URAA in a ceremony in Los Angeles and the Final Leg Team will then be entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the Flame though our 14 day Final Leg event starting in Sacramento on July 13th and safely delivering it to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2015 Los Angeles World Games on July 25th.
Please take a minute to look at this great media piece from TV station KABC that aired yesterday…..this is GREAT!!!!
We are now only 58 days away from our Final Leg mission. Things are really starting to happen now. The media attention will begin picking up as the excitement builds. I hope each and everyone one of you had the opportunity to utilize the boilerplate press release I sent announcing your participation in the Final Leg. Your Torch Run/SO program should utilize their media contacts to help build excitement in your local community and highlight your participation in this historic event.
I know all of the Team Leader have been communicating with their teams building the esprit de corp and your team identity. As we get closer to the event you should be putting in some mileage getting yourself prepared for the daily runs. While the individual runs are not great distances, they will be repeated four to six time a day for thirteen days. The weather will be between hot and hotter and you will need to be very aware about maintaining your hydration.....that is extremely important!!! Train hard and be ready!!!!
We are still finalizing details on housing for the Final Leg and they may be a few slight alterations in the rooming assignments that I will get to you as soon as everything is solidified. On at least one night there will be four or five to a suite (four or five bedrooms and two baths). There is also a ceremony location that has changed and we will get you all of those details in an upcoming communication.
I'm sure everyone is starting to think about packing and what they should bring with them so here are some reminders.
Here is a list of what you will receive with your uniform kit (the majority of what you will wear for 15 days!):
• Six (6) moisture wicking running t-shirts (three different colors)
• Two polo shirts
• One button down, short sleeve shirt
• Four (4) pair running shorts
• One (1) running/track type suit
• One (1) baseball style hat
• Six (6) pairs of running socks (ankle)
• Fanny pack
• Back pack
• Large Gear bag for your clothing
Logistics & Documentation Team members will receive regular shorts....not running shorts!
The objective is for all Final Leg team members to pack very light as you will be receiving most of the clothes that you will be wearing during the Final Leg event.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
Recommended list of what to bring:
• A pair of jeans or casual pants for meals and evening wear
• One or two pairs of casual shorts
• 1 pair of khaki or tan pants for the Team Party
• A couple short sleeve t-shirts and/or sweatshirts for on-your-own wear — bring items from your own Torch Run program if available
• Running shoes, 2 pairs recommended
• Sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip protection
• A pair of casual shoes for dinners and leisure time
• Extra pairs of socks for running and leisure time
• Appropriate ID for air travel, and passport/visa if required
• If you wear them, extra contact lenses if possible due to the heat
• Toiletries for the duration of the Final Leg—hotels provide soap and shampoo
• Camera and batteries
• Small container of Woolite or detergent to wash out an item or two during the event
• Mesh laundry bag with your name on it for laundry during the Final Leg event
• Notebook or journal to record your Final Leg experiences, memories, and stories—you will be glad you did!
• Bathing Suit (for pools and ocean)
ANOTHER reminder...law enforcement runners are required to bring their police summer dress uniforms with them to wear during Opening Ceremonies. Do not bring weapons, ammunition, holsters, or any belt accessories such as handcuffs…this includes local law enforcement! You will not be allowed into Opening Ceremonies with any weapons!!! Please do bring your leather “Sam Browne” belt (with under-belt and keepers if needed) and buckle, and remember to bring your dress coat, hat and police shoes. We will store your uniform in a secure facility upon your arrival and return it to you prior to Opening Ceremonies so you do not have to carry it around with you during the Final Leg event. If you do not wear a police uniform, don’t fret, you will be participating in the Opening Ceremonies in another way.
For those individuals from countries that need a U.S. Visa to visit the United States, PLEASE make sure that you have already made application for them as you will not be permitted to board your plane without your passport AND a valid VISA.
I know your Team Leaders will continue to build excitement within your respective teams in the coming weeks and we will be in Los Angeles before you know it.
I will be sending you more information and updates as we get closer. In the mean tme, please don't hesitate to contact me or your Team leader if you have any questions or concerns.
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, Sébastien Charlebois from Quebec, Canada. Sébastien 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!!!!