Race is on for Terry Fox Run

Sprinters take off for the first leg of the Terry Fox Emergency Service Relay at Harry Jerome Track on Saturday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Chris Pacey is breathing and sweating harder than he normally does, but he still has a big smile on his face.

The Parkland Ambulance paramedic and three of his colleagues have just finished a 100-metre sprint relay, and it’s left him a little speechless.

“I know we’re all fatigued,” he chuckles. “We don’t usually hustle this hard.”

Parkland Ambulance was one of four teams out sprinting around Harry Jerome Track on Saturday to help promote an annual tradition.

Relay teams Parkland Ambulance, the Prince Albert Police Department, the Prince Albert Fire Department and Wildfire Management came out for a friendly competition, with the goal of helping promote the upcoming Terry Fox Run.

Parkland Ambulance took the crown this year, and while Pacey says it’s always nice to have a friendly competition, it’s the fundraising that’s most important.

“It takes money for (cancer) research,” he said. “It’s for a great cause, so if (emergency services) can do anything to get more people out, that’s awesome.”

When the emergency services relay was restarted two years ago only two teams competed: the fire and police departments. Since then the number of teams has doubled, including a first-year entry from Wildfire Management.

Unfortunately, most of the organizations top sprinters were preoccupied with battling fires in Northern Saskatchewan, but organizers were still pleased to see them.

“We’re just happy that they made it out here for the first time,” Terry Fox Run committee spokesperson Danielle Poisson said.

At one time, the Prince Albert Terry Fox relay almost ceased to exist. Fortunately, organizers say things are starting to improve, as more local residents and businesses get involved.

On Saturday, the Parkland Ambulance sprit team hoisted the new trophy donated by Malcolm Jenkins, one of many examples of the resurgence in interest.

“I like to say (the Terry Fox Run) is the granddaddy of them all,” long-time Terry Fox Run committee member Vern Hodgins said. “There are lots of good fundraisers for lots of good causes, but if you think about it, they really are just following in Terry Fox’s footsteps.”

Hodgins said the new committee has rejuvenated the run, and ensured it will last long into the future.

The 2017 Terry Fox Run will take place on Sept. 17 at the Alfred Jenkins Field House. Registration begins and 1:15 p.m. with the race starting at 2 p.m.