By Mary O’KEEFE
The 30th Annual Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay was held last weekend. Locally Glendale police and Los Angeles County sheriffs from Crescenta Valley and Altadena stations participated in the 120-mile race.
“We did well. We finished second in our category,” said Lt. John Gilkerson, GPD. “We finished 35 out of the 261 teams [that competed].”
The run begins 25 miles north of Baker, Calif. and ends in Las Vegas. GPD’s relay time was 15:39:16.
“We [are serious] about competing. We want to do the best we can,” he said.
Gilkerson was the captain of the support crew. Runners must be moved from their holding area to their running leg then, when they complete their section, they are taken back to the holding area.
“It is a logistical challenge,” Gilkerson said. This is the eighth year he has been heading up the support crew, and he has it down to a science.
A sad reminder of a recently fallen officer was found on the backs of the runners of the Los Angeles Police Dept. Hollywood Division. On their shirts was a photo of Officer Nicholas Lee who was killed on March 7 when the driver of a truck apparently lost control of the vehicle and struck Lee’s police cruiser.
Making the relay a bit easier to tackle this year was the weather, which was cooler than in previous years.
“It was nicer, probably 20 degrees [Fahrenheit] cooler,” Gilkerson said.
Sgt. Burton Brink of LASD Crescenta Valley Station was a commander of his support team as well. Their team’s time was 19:44:22.
“It was one of the most comfortable [Baker to Vegas] relays,” Brink said of the weather.
The CV and Altadena sheriff stations combine to create a team. Brink said the team did better than they had last year despite one of the deputies getting injured just prior to the race.
“He was our fastest runner,” he said.
Brink said the team was happy with their improvement and, like every year, enjoyed the camaraderie.