Torchbearers impressed with support in Erin

Hundreds lined Main and Dundas Streets here on Monday for the Olympic torch relay, much to the delight of those charged with carrying the flame through town.

“I was kind of emotional … it was great to see such support in?Erin,” said torchbearer Stewart Saunderson. “It was nice to see the roads all crowded with people, which made it a lot better experience for me.”

Saunderson, 37, of Kitchener, carried the torch along Dundas Street to Centre 2000 before it continued on through Alton and Orangeville. He was selected as a torchbearer several months ago through Coca Cola.

“I’ve been waiting patiently for today,” he said. “It finally came and disappeared quickly, but it was an absolutely amazing experience.”

Like Saunderson, torchbearer Candace Wormsbecker, was appreciative of the support of Erin residents.

“It was amazing. It was so cool,” she said. “It was just all the community coming together and being a part of the celebration.”

Wormsbecker, 30, of Waterloo, carried the torch along Main Street before handing off the flame to Toronto’s Naresh Lalman in front of Main Place near Scotch Street.

Lalman graciously posed for photos with dozens of residents at that location prior to his 300 metre leg of the relay. He could barely control his excitement as he received the flame from Wormsbecker.

“Let’s get this thing going!” he yelled to the crowd before jogging to his own hand-off. Eight torchbearers in total carried the flame through Erin.

The crowd, which was already impressive 30 minutes prior to the scheduled 8:53am start time, grew in size and anticipation as local police closed the roads for a procession that included a Royal Canadian Mounted Police escort and Coca Cola and Royal Bank trucks.

Particularly loud were the countless children in the crowd, including a group from Erin Public School that displayed large, styrofoam models of Olympic mascots Quatchi and Miga, as well as the official Vancouver 2010 Olympic logo.

And while some expressed regret that the torch relay passed through town so quickly, they can now countdown the days – 42 as of today – until the Olympic Games on Feb. 12.