A SUPER-FIT police officer from St Helens will be in charge of ensuring the safety of the Olympic torch on its epic pre-Games relay across the UK.
PC Stuart Tracey, 42, will not only run alongside torchbearers to protect the Olympic torch - he will also serve as the Torch Security Team’s (TST) trainer and tactical advisor throughout the 70-day tour.
PC Tracey was picked from 664 applicants for the once-in-a-lifetime role and will put 18 months of gruelling training to the test when the Olympic flame sets off from Land’s End in Cornwall this Saturday (May 19).
No doubt he will also have one eye on the torch’s route a fortnight later though, because on June 1 it will be carried through his native St Helens.
PC Tracey, an avid rugby and football fan, has been a police officer since 1988 and has served as a public order training officer at the Metropolitan Police’s specialist training centre for the last eight years.
He previously served in various roles in the Met - including at Wembley Police Station - and as part of the North West’s Territorial Support Group.
The father-of-two, who boxed for the police service at the World Police and Fire Games following the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, has been combining daily 6.30am runs with visits to the gym to prepare for the task ahead.
PC Tracey’s “runners” form half of a wider 70-strong torch security team, which includes motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, senior officers and operational planners.
On some of the days he could end up running up to 30 miles.
The brief is for the officers to form a protective bubble around the torchbearer - while ensuring that the flame and torchbearer take centre stage.
PC Tracey said: “I’m sure there will be a lot of highs and some lows during those 70 days.”