Durham, NH (May 29, 2024) – This Friday, 534 Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) athletes will begin participating in the 2024 State Summer Games at UNH in Durham. Friday will be a full day of competition beginning at 8:00am. The day leads up to the Opening Ceremonies in Wildcat Stadium starting with the Parade of Athletes at 7:00pm Friday night. At approximately 8:00pm, the 40th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics New Hampshire will run the Flame of Hope into the stadium and members of New Hampshire Law Enforcement will participate in the annual cruiser and motorcycle parade.

Following the Opening Ceremonies there will be Track and Field competition on the UNH track followed by an awards ceremony leading to the 9:00pm fireworks display over Wildcat Stadium. The Opening Ceremonies and SONH State Summer Games are open to the public, free and we invite anyone to attend to see our athletes in action.  

Due to construction on the UNH campus, this year’s swimming competition will be held at the Roger Nekton Championship Pool at the field house on the grounds of Phillips Exeter Academy on Friday. Equestrian competition will take place off-campus at Paradis Farm on Tolend Road in Dover on Saturday.

The SONH State Summer Games are once again presented by Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE). Mike Violette is the president and CEO of AGNE and his relationship with SONH has roots in the 1980’s when he was working for his family-owned IGA Store in Milford, New Hampshire. “Together with other IGA retailers, we provided meals for the Winter Games. I was instantly inspired by the athletes’ tremendous enthusiasm, grace and genuine camaraderie,” he recalls. Violette has continued his relationship with Special Olympics on both a personal and professional level. He says that the passion for the mission of SONH “transcends company-wide throughout Associated Grocers of New England,” noting that AGNE is a proud partner of Special Olympics and the more than 2600 athletes in New Hampshire. He says that he and his employees are “committed to supporting and celebrating their remarkable spirit.”

AGNE is a year-round partner to SONH and employees volunteer for multiple events over the course of each year and Associated Grocers donates food and product for many SONH events annually. For the Summer Games alone this weekend, AGNE has donated 312 cases of food and products to feed the hundreds of athletes and volunteers in attendance.

Both Friday and Saturday will include Olympic Town at UNH featuring arts, crafts and entertainment. Saturday at UNH will also include a static display of Law Enforcement equipment and free health screenings as part of the Healthy Athletes® program.

Mary Conroy is President and CEO of SONH and says the athletes of SONH look forward to the State Summer Games for many reasons. “Our athletes have trained for weeks to be ready for this competition and it’s our largest sporting event of the year,” she says. “More than 40 local programs from across the state are represented here and it’s a chance for our athletes to renew friendships that go back decades in many cases.”

On the Law Enforcement Torch Run celebrating 40 years in the Granite State this year; “The Summer Games are a terrific opportunity for the men and women of law enforcement to continue to bond with SONH athletes. The friendship and mentoring of these officers mean the world to a Special Olympics athlete and we’re proud that our association has lasted for four decades, and we look forward to our continued partnership” Conroy said.

Conroy also pointed out that volunteers are still needed for the organization’s flagship Summer Games event. Individuals or groups interested in volunteering can see the opportunities and times at the SONH website:


Click on the blue “Volunteer” banner at the top of the home page to see tasks, days and times. Available shifts range from a few hours to a full day or more.

About Special Olympics New Hampshire

Special Olympics New Hampshire (SONH) is an accredited program of Special Olympics International (SOI) and is part of an international global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world.  We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.  Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance.  Learn more at www.sonh.org.

About Associated Grocers of New England

Associated Grocers of New England is the largest retailer-owned, wholesale grocery distribution center in New England. Serving the needs of independent retail grocers of every store size and format: multi-store independent supermarket groups, community supermarkets, country stores, and convenience retailers. AG New England is at the right place at the right time. In today’s marketplace, we are a formidable resource with serious advantages for independent retailers. A comprehensive array of services, products, programs, resources, opportunities and assistance has been designed to meet the needs of today’s local independent stores. We are owned by independents. For more information, please visit www.agne.com.

About the Law Enforcement Torch Run

Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics (LETR) is a volunteer movement that was established by members of the law enforcement community to support Special Olympics.  The mission of LETR is to increase awareness and raise funds for the Special Olympics movement.