CLEVELAND - The Fireball Run road rally and adventure game will start in Independence this year and go for 2,500 miles, ending in Bangor, Maine, it was announced Thursday.
The run is billed as the country's largest effort to find missing children. Teams of drivers post pictures of missing children on cars, and drivers stop at eight cities along the route to hand out flyers with pictures of the kids.
Finding the route to the next city is part of the run's adventure.
The run's website describes it as a "life size board game, an interactive adventure series. Teams solve several clues daily in order to navigate the route, locate points of interest, and score. The missions are often epic, motivational, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You will feel every emotion during this production."
Participants typically are wealthy people, organizers say -- business leaders, executives and some celebrities. There are 80 people in the run, but organizers did not give any names at the public announcement about the event on Thursday.
Since Fireball Run started in 2007, organizers said they've helped find 38 kids. That's partly due to media coverage of the run, the public sees pictures of missing children.
The production also is promoted as a way for participants to explore the host cities, as possible venues for economic growth.
Organizers picked Independence as the run's start city this year because it's scenic, historic and has a good business community, said David Hickman, executive vice-president of marketing for Fireball Run.
"It's a beautiful location here," Hickman said. "You have some interesting history, and your proximity to the Greater Cleveland area -- it just made it a bonus."
Independence is planning a weekend-long celebration as the start city of this year's road rally, which begins Sunday, Sept. 23.
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