WATCH ABOVE: It’s been 10 years since the tragic events in Mayerthorpe and on Sunday hundreds ran a marathon to remember the men who lost their lives. Eric Szeto has more on the Fallen 4 Marathon.
EDMONTON – March 3, 2015 marked the 10-year anniversary of the day four Mounties were shot and killed near Mayerthorpe and the tragic day was remembered this weekend with the community’s annual marathon.
The Fallen 4 Marathon, which makes its way from Mayerthorpe to Whitecourt, was held Sunday. The annual 42-kilometre race is a way for members of the community to honour the sacrifice made by Constables Peter Schiemann, Leo Johnston, Anthony Gordon and Brock Myrol, who were killed on March 3, 2005 while investigating a marijuana grow operation near Mayerthorpe.
“In one sense I was kind of amazed when they said 10 years. It still seems fresh in a way,” said Dwayne Dibben who was running the marathon for his fourth time.
“We’ve been coming every year. But 10 years is a bit anniversary so it’s a special thing to remember,” added Dennis Stauffer, who came from Grande Prairie to take part.
More than 600 people took part in this year’s run, which started with an emotional ceremony Sunday morning. While O Canada was sung, the Canadian flag that was flown during the funeral for Schiemann, Johnston, Fordon and Myrol was brought down from the sky by the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks.
“It was a really nice tribute,” said event organizer Tina Prodaniuk. “They presented the flag to the RCMP, which then in turn presented it to the Fallen 4 Memorial Park.”
The one-year anniversary of the day Moncton lost three of its RCMP members was marked earlier this week. Constables Douglas Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan were shot and killed on June 4, 2014. With other deadly RCMP-involved shootings across the country, including one which claimed the life of Alberta RCMP Const. David Wynn in St. Albert in January, those at the Fallen 4 Marathon say the event goes far beyond Mayerthorpe.
“It’s a tough job. When they get up in the morning to go to work they never know if they’re going to come home, that’s a tough thing to do everyday,” said Stauffer.
“I’m glad our community does this so it keeps the idea of support for those who serve our communities,” said Dibben. “They truly live up to the duty they’re called to and I admire them for that. And if we can encourage them through this event and every day by being good citizens, I hope they know that we are truly appreciative of what they do for us.”
A portion of the proceeds from the annual marathon is donated to the Mayerthorpe Fallen Four Memorial Society. Over the past six years, the Fallen Four Marathon Society has donated over $178,000 back to the communities of Whitecourt and Mayerthorpe.