“The fact that we had the opportunity to see it while it was here in our own city, it was just too much to pass up,” said one man taking in the event.
“It’s something new that we haven’t had before and it’s just a good time,” said another young man taking in the event.
Area city councillor Scott McKeen went down to the race Saturday and couldn’t be happier with the turnout.
“I was really tickled, I guess that would be the word, really heartened to see that many people come downtown for that event,” McKeen said Sunday.
He’s also incredibly proud of the way Edmonton was represented by the event.
“It’s obviously really crazy and cool and just to be associated with that. I think it’s fabulous for the city. It really showed us off again at our best,” said McKeen.
“We got to show off this great city of ours to a huge international audience.”
McKeen lives downtown and says apart from a bit of “yahooing,” the ruckus in the streets was minimal.
“That’s just sort of the babbling brook you get in the background when you live downtown.”
Extra police were brought in to patrol the downtown area. Deputy chief Tony Harder with the Edmonton Police Service said there were 60-70 officers milling about and apart from the odd disturbance, they were very happy with the behaviour of the large crowd.
“It was a safe event. It was well covered, well managed. And in terms of the street issues for people – very minor,” said Harder.
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The race was thrilling for spectators and athletes alike. Barreling down the 412-metre track at speeds of 50 km/h is a rush of its own, but the boisterous crowd just added to the excitement for those in the final race.
“It’s a little strange because you can’t see at the beginning, but as soon as you go down the track it just fills out and becomes just so electric and the crowd’s going wild and it just really keeps you going,” said Coleton Haywood, a racer from Ontario.
“The crowd is insane. There’s so many people cheering for us. It’s crazy,” said Dominic Martel, a racer from Montreal.
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