The annual Special Olympics Torch Run, canceled in June when the annual games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, continued on Friday.

Nearly 3,000 police officers ran a combined 750 miles around the state to help raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics.

A segment of the run in Morris County honored athlete Colby Douglas, of Pequannock, who contracted COVID-19 in April and spent 135 days in a hospital, including 70 days on a ventilator.  He was honored by Gov. Phil Murphy in June as "an extraordinary young man" whose inner strength was "pushed to its limits" during his bout with the virus.

Douglas carried the torch and was presented with a plaque by Pequannock PBA Local 172 that called him "an inspiration to all."

"This was such a beautiful day and a blessing to see Colby honored by the law enforcement community. We are grateful to so many people for helping Colby along his healing journey," Colby's mother, Gayle Douglas, said

Except for the "flame of hope" carried by the officers, the Torch Run looked different this year.

"We've had to modify everything based on events and the pandemic. Even our local law enforcement active with everything going on they've been super busy the past six months the fact that they're even able to come together and support up is tremendous," according to Special Olympics spokesman Jeremy Davis.

Secaucus police Chief Dennis Miller made sure his department was part of this year's Torch Run.

"COVID is COVID but we still have a job to do. These guys are out there everyday. They take the risk I take it with them," Miller told New Jersey 101.5. The Torch Run in Secaucus every year goes to all five schools.

"We usually have them run with us around their school. That part was not done this year," Miller said..

Law enforcement in New Jersey also supports Special Olympics with three Polar Bear Plunges including the Seaside Heights event hosted by New Jersey 101.5's Big Joe Henry, the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K and the United Airlines Plane Pull.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

New Jersey Special Olympics Torch Run 2020

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