No Olympic ceremony would be complete without a torch run. The relay, first started in 1936, always starts in Athens where the games originated and makes its way to that year’s site.

The Special Olympics are no different. On Friday, they will host the Flame of Hope Torch Run to kick off the opening ceremony for the 2013 South Carolina Mid-Winter Games at Brittlebank Park.

“It’s a flame of hope and that’s what we want to instill in our athletes,” said Special Olympics volunteer Heather Boger of West Ashley.

Boger said the run is important because it sets the mood for the games.

“The athletes love it. It’s something that gets them excited for the games,” she said.

Law enforcement will alternate carrying the torch, which can get quite heavy along the 2.3 mile run.

Local Special Olympics athletes Kyle McFarland and Trampus Hoover will light the cauldron during the opening ceremony that will include music, dancing and words of encouragement.

Boger said that because many of the athletes work during the weekday, the run and opening ceremony will be held Friday night and the athletes will compete over the weekend.

She said it’s important for people to show their support not because it’s a Special Olympics event, but because all populations should be supported.

“You will never run into better individuals than our athletes. It’s a welcoming feeling. These athletes have worked hard just like any other athlete,” she said.

The games bring together 1,400 athletes from all over the state to compete in masters bowling, badminton, basketball skills, basketball team play, power lifting, disc golf, unified bowling and the young athlete event.

For more information, go to so-sc.org/mid-winter-games.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@postandcourier.com.