Torch Run Kicks Off Show-Me State Games\' Weekend

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JEFFERSON CITY - The first torch run in over ten years kicked off the 28th anniversary of the Show-Me State Games Friday.

The torch started its day in Jefferson City at noon. Governor Jay Nixon walked the torch to a group of runners, who ran around the Capitol. 

The torch was then taken to Columbia, where a second torch run took place at 3:30 p.m. The run was just over three miles and began at the front steps of Shelter Insurance. Joe Duncan, retired Director of Litigation for Shelter Insurance, was the front runner. Duncan has been the front runner for almost every torch run that has taken place. He told KOMU 8 News what he said when he was asked to lead Columbia's torch run this year.

"When he called me, I said 'that's really indeed an honor and, yes, I'll do it.' I am still running, and it's very much an honor to do that," Duncan said.  

The torch ended its journey in the hands of Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber at the Mizzou Arena for the Show-Me State Games' Opening Ceremony. 

Ken Ash, Executive Director of the Show-Me State Games said the event was meant to create excitement and awareness about the games throughout Missouri.

"I think the torch run will highlight the games more so than we have in the last ten years, so we're really pleased that Shelter Insurance stepped up and is sponsoring this event and we look forward to not only this year, but years in the future," Ash said. 

Prior to Friday, the torch also travelled through Springfield, Joplin, Lee's Summit and St. Charles. The man who drove the torch from location to location was Frank Thompson, the Vice President of Marketing at Shelter Insurance. Thompson said it was nice seeing each community's response to the run.

"We actually had prior athletes each come with their medals and talk about the experiences they had. In Joplin, we had a very charismatic gentleman, 81 years old, that still participates in the games," Thompson said. "It was really neat to see how much people enjoy the sports and fellowship they have while competing in the Show-Me State Games." 

The torch run originated in 1985, which was the same year the Show-Me State Games was established.