Last week Phil Disharoon laced up his sneakers, put on his Virginia Law Enforcement Torch Run shirt, and proceeded with members of his staff to the Collingwood exit of the George Washington Parkway.
Disharoon is in charge of the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) special agents in the Alexandria office. Along with Special Agents Katie Hudak, Pat Macmac, Brent Weaver and Will Ivie, he waited at Collingwood Road until 11:40 a.m., when members of the Fairfax City police force met up with them and passed the torch — the Olympic torch, that is.
They took part in a tradition that started in 1986, one which Disharoon has participated in almost as long. He does it because he thinks it's a good cause. His staff members also believe in the cause, plus they have the added incentive of being treated to lunch.
"It's traditional that Phil buys lunch for us at Chicken Out after the run," said Macmac.
THIS YEAR they had to run a little longer. Instead of running 9/10 of a mile to River Farm Drive, they had to run two miles to Lucia Lane, because one of the groups didn't show up.
"I didn't run the entire two miles," said Disharoon."I got on and off the trailer, but somebody from ABC was in the run pack the entire time. One of our agents made it the whole way, and then we turned it over to the police."
What many people may not realize is that the torch run is more than symbolic; it's also a fund-raiser with participating law-enforcement groups purchasing T-shirts for the run.
"I purchase T-shirts every year. Several of us have done it [the run] for a number of years," said Disharoon.
Macmac is the liaison for the Special Olympics group. He helped coordinate the torch run while he was working in Los Angeles and continued the tradition when he started working for ABC in Alexandria eight years ago.
Macmac said that there are other fund-raising events that are held during the year, including the plane pull, which is held at Dulles Airport, and a motorcycle poker run, sponsored by the Leesburg Police Department.
In addition to coordinating members of the ABC staff for the run, Macmac also travels to Richmond with a team of Loudoun County Special Olympians every year.
"I see them when they bring the torch in. It's pretty amazing," said Macmac.