ST. PAUL - The Annual Challenge Cup Relay Race, better known as the St. Paul RCMP road race, is back on track after having been sidelined by the pandemic for the last two years.
Relay teams from junior and senior high schools across the area will be competing for bragging rights in the May 10 event which will see them race from St. Brides for 12 miles along Hwy. 29 into St. Paul with the finish line at the St. Paul Rec. Centre.
With the relay getting underway at 10 a.m., each team member runs a one mile stretch along the highway before switching off with another teammate. The expected time of finish is about 12:30 p.m. The event is open to students in Grades 6 to 12 with teams needing to register by April 29.
Cst. Daniel Solomon has been charged with helping to organize the event this year and he has been connecting with local schools to encourage participation.
The annual road race has been a popular spring event for close to four decades and provides an opportunity for the RCMP to connect with local youth in a positive way, something that has been prevented by the pandemic for the past two years.
“It’s been hard for police in the community to get together and do something fun and do something active and beneficial,” he said. “As soon as I heard about it personally, I definitely wanted to get involved. The fact that this is going to be the 40th annual road race speaks for itself that it has become an event that is important to the community, and it is tried and true.”
As a new officer, Solomon said he is excited to get out with youth and he is looking forward to running in the relay as part of the RCMP team. For him it is about forming connections and letting youth know that the police in St. Paul “can be just like everybody else.”
“Nowadays, there sometimes is a bit of a stigma with police and we want to make sure they know we can be trusted. These connections are important – letting them know we are around, and we are ready to help.”
Motorists are asked to be especially vigilant if they are heading down Hwy. 29 west of St. Paul on race day.
“The kids will be running on the side of the highway, but we will be trying to keep it as safe as possible,” Solomon said, asking that people be vigilant that day as there will be several emergency services partners assisting to making sure the event runs smoothly.