ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” That’s the motto for Special Olympics athletes—but on Wednesday, it took on a separate meaning.

More than 150 officers from around the Capital Region ran from Schenectady to Albany. “[They were] befriending our athletes, and changing the future for people with intellectual disabilities, one step at a time,” exclaimed Stacey Hengsterman, President and CEO of Special Olympics New York.

Hengsterman was amazed, even smoke-filled air couldn’t stop them. “We did ask, ‘are you sure you want to run?’,” she recalled. “And people said yes. You guys did it! ‘Air quality shmair quality,’ I guess. Not for these guys.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan remembered when her cousin competed. “He still proudly displays the medals that he earned over the course of his experience and participation in the Special Olympics,” stated the mayor.

Which is a common theme for these athletes. “They want the opportunity to compete,” added Mayor Sheehan. “They want the opportunity to excel. They want the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do and what they’ve accomplished.”

An opportunity they will get, this weekend. “The torch will make its way to Ithaca, where it will be used to light the cauldron at opening ceremonies at summer games,” said Hengsterman.

The games will be held on Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. For more information, or to volunteer, visit the Special Olympics New York website.