A run for the funds
RCMP will race for charity

by Derek Neary
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 17/98) - Next weekend, RCMP Const. Ray Carfantan will be racing across the desert on foot to help the Children's Wish Foundation.

Carfantan will be one of a team of 22 RCMP members who will take part in the Challenge Cup Relay Race from Baker, Calif., across the desert to Las Vegas, Nev. The race, sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department, is expected to attract more than 200 teams and 5,000 runners. Each runner will complete a 10-kilometre leg for a total of 211 kilometres.

"It must be quite something," said Carfantan, who will fly out on Thursday. "We're all in it for fun, to raise money for charity and some awareness for The Children's Wish Foundation. That's the big plus."

Teri Arychuk, a representative of the Yellowknife sub-chapter of The Children's Wish Foundation, is delighted with the RCMP's generosity.

"It's great," said Arychuk. "There have been a lot of children in the Northwest Territories affected with life-threatening illnesses. A lot of them are not aware that The Wish Foundation is there and that 90 per cent of wishes are granted."

Last year marked the first time the RCMP entered the event but Carfantan had prior obligations so he couldn't compete. The rest of his teammates will all be from K division in Alberta, where he was stationed last year. They invited him again this time because they know him, "not because I'm a world-class athlete," he said.

That being said, the RCMP contingent will be seeking a respectable placing.

"There's a big sense of competition," Carfantan said. "Some of the teams from the States, I'm told, set their teams quite early and they train for this."

In preparation, Carfantan has been running the airport loop, about 10 kilometres, once each week.

"If I can make it through that without dying, I should be all right," he laughed.

The real question is what kind of weather conditions he will have to endure. The team has a support van travelling from Edmonton and they were told to be sure to have snow chains for their tires and a snake bite kit.

"Sort of from one extreme to the other," Carfantan said, explaining that the terrain is also mountainous in sections and the higher elevations are susceptible to snow.

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