Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rising to the run challenge

Boeing event appeals to competitive nature

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When you need them they'll be there, but this weekend a group of the most competitive service personnel and officers will find out who can get there the fastest.

Some of them will lay down the law of sprinting, some will exhibit militant toughness.

As part of the 30th annual Boeing Classic Provincial Indoor Track and Field Championships being held Friday and Saturday at the University of Manitoba's Max Bell Fieldhouse, a showcase relay called Winnipeg's Fastest Service Challenge will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday as part of the official opening ceremonies.

Teams of four runners from the Winnipeg Police Service, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, RCMP, Canadian Forces and event sponsor Boeing Canada will compete in a 4x100-metre relay.

The event is being billed as "a friendly competition in human speed."

Larry Switzer, the Boeing track meet chairman, said the event will celebrate their dedication to the safety of citizens and showcase the elite level of fitness these individuals maintain as part of their everyday working life.

"There are so many incredible people working within these different organizations," Switzer said.

"This is what we've started with and we're hoping it will become an annual part of our event and maybe see a start of some competition within the different forces, let alone against the forces."

The Winnipeg Police Service team includes Tactical Support Team members Shane Cook, Eric Wytinck, Dean Lambert and Trevor Forscutt.

Cook was a former track and field participant in high school at R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson, as was Wytinck at Westmount High School in Swan Lake.

"As soon as we got the email, we jumped on it because we're all competitive in nature and when we found out who we would be competing against, it sounded like it would be a lot of fun," Cook said.

It is said that in an emergency, when everyone else is running away from danger, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and military officers are running toward it.

"The guys running here, we train on a daily basis and we try to stay in good shape. With our jobs we have to be in really, really good shape because there's usually a lot of equipment that we're carrying (while running)," Wytinck said, noting the equipment worn by the Tactical Support Team weighs at least 32 kilograms. "We all play sports to this day and it sounded like a lot of fun because it appeals to our competitive natures."

Boeing Canada has put up a $500 prize, which will be donated to the charity of choice of the winning team.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 3, 2011 D4

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