Three Saskatchewan police officers tested their physical limits at the Queen City Marathon on Sunday, to honour their Fredericton colleagues killed in the line of duty.
Cst. Jeffery Bartsch and Melinda Mintenko from the Weyburn Police Service, along with Saskatchewan Highway Patrol officer Philip Clark, finished the 10 kilometre run in just under an hour and a half, in full uniform.
“At the end of the day it was a very daunting task,” Bartsch said. “But nothing that compares to what those going through mental health or mental illness struggles would endeavor.”
Three years ago, Bartsch turned his love of running into a way to raise money for mental health initiatives, and Regina’s Queen City Marathon is no exception.
But this year, the three officers are going above and beyond, honouring Fredericton officers Cst. Sara Burns and Robb Costello, killed in the line of duty just last month. For Bartsch, it’s a tragedy that hits close to home.
“I went to the Atlantic Police Academy in Prince Edward Island with Cst. Sara Burns and got to know her very well,” Bartsch said. “After attending the regimental funeral in Fredericton earlier in August, I thought this was a perfect fit to honour those two officers.”
With his fellow officers by his side, it’s a reminder of the sacrifice first responders make every day.
“It’s a very important job that anyone in emergency services does and every single day we all as humans should not take that for granted and this tragedy of these two wonderful officers is very very tragic and our hearts go out to them,” Mintenko said.
Just seconds before the trio finished the race, they took a moment to pay tribute as the crowd cheered them on.
“We’re very happy we did it and it was very memorable and it was very emotional for myself,” Bartsch said.