Traffic was backed up on several major roads in Columbia Thursday morning.
But instead of angered honking, drivers cheered as the Special Olympics Maryland Torch Run made its way through the streets, led by local law enforcement officials and athletes.
Both the start and finish of the 6-mile jog were at Cedar Lane Park, and dozens of police, corrections, internal affairs officers -- as well as several states attorney's office employees -- joined five Howard County athletes.
The route began on Clarksville Pike, went down Beaverbrook Road, through neighborhoods and re-emerged by Howard Community College. Officers on motorcycles continued to secure the route for the runners as they passed through the Howard County General Hospital parking lot and by the Harper's Choice Village Center, before turning back onto Clarksville Pike and into the park.
The Howard County leg of the Torch Run is part of many that take place in the days leading up to the Special Olympics Opening Ceremony in Towson on Friday, June 5.
Howard County Special Olympics participants at Thursday's event were:
Julie Smith, Fulton
Lakiva Jackson, Columbia
Nate Zahn, Ellicott City
David Snyder, Ellicott City
Julia Phillips, Ellicott City.