Dozens of law enforcement officers from several different organizations left southern Alberta for Edmonton on Friday, ready to pedal 500 kilometres in the name of charity.
Members of the Lethbridge, Taber, Blood Tribe and Calgary police services, Alberta Sheriffs, Alberta Corrections, RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces are all taking part in the 15th annual Alberta Law Enforcement Torch Run provincial bike ride.
The 24-hour bike ride is held to raise funds and awareness for the Alberta Special Olympics.
“Our enjoyment that we get out of doing these events is seeing the look on athletes’ faces,” said Matt Burton, vice-chair of the southwest region of Alberta Law Enforcement Torch Run.
“The inclusion that they get through sports, the excitement they get with participating in these events, that’s what we’re here for.”
This year, the event raised $30,000. Twelve Lethbridge police officers are participating in the ride along with eight support staff.
Cyclists will ride through the night in all kinds of weather, making for an unpredictable ride.
“The ride can be interesting, depending on what kind of weather [we get],” said Blaine Stodolka, a retired Lethbridge police officer participating in the event for the fifth time.
“We’ve ran into rain, snow, hail, tornadoes… We’ve ran into everything throughout the years, but we keep going because it’s all for the athletes.”
The ride will be completed in a relay fashion with cyclists switching out every hour. But some riders, like Stodolka, will ride the full 500 kilometres.
The officers will arrive in Edmonton on Saturday at noon, where they will be welcomed by Special Olympics athletes, coaches and spectators.
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