Special honours for local volunteers when Hansen Relay arrives

Twenty-two local volunteers and people known for their leadership abilities will represent Red Deer as medal bearers when the Rick Hansen Relay comes through the city on March 2 and 3.

Twenty-two local volunteers and people known for their leadership abilities will represent Red Deer as medal bearers when the Rick Hansen Relay comes through the city on March 2 and 3.

Begun in August 2011, the relay is being held to commemorate the 25 years that have passed since Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour. It will span 12,000 km coast-to-coast and engage approximately 7,000 medal bearers, who will collectively cover an average of 40 to 80 km per day.

The Rick Hansen Relay will spend five days in Central Alberta, arriving in Olds on Feb. 29 and leaving Lacombe for Wetaskiwin on March 4.

“Participants can walk, run or wheel their 250-metre segment and we had so many different people apply with such great stories of how they have made a difference,” Lisa Clement, media relations specialist for the Risk Hansen Relay, said on Tuesday.

On the afternoon of March 2, — day 192 of the tour — the relay will arrive in Red Deer. Three community celebrations will honour all the medal bearers and will include speeches by local representatives, music, entertainment and food.

Opening ceremonies will begin on March 2 at 12:30 p.m. in the G.H. Dawe Community Centre gymnasium, where the relay is going start. Following a 25-minute presentation, participants and supporters will travel to Red Deer College.

Day-end celebrations will take place at 3 p.m. at the RDC main gymnasium, located on the east end of the campus.

On March 3, the day the relay leaves Red Deer, there will be closing celebrations at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at 11 a.m. There will be free admission from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Heritage Ranch will also feature sleigh rides, hot dogs and hot chocolate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The 273-day relay started on Aug. 24 in Cape Spear, N.L., and will wrap up in Vancouver on May 22.

Here is the schedule through Central Alberta:

• Feb. 29: Airdrie, Crossfield, Carstairs, Didsbury, Olds.

• March 1: Olds, Bowden, Innisfail.

• March 2: Innisfail, Penhold, Red Deer.

• March 3: Red Deer, Blackfalds, Lacombe.

• March 4: Lacombe, Ponoka.

• March 5: Ponoka, Hobbema, Wetaskiwin.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com