It’s been snaking its way across Canada since August of last year and now the City of Richmond is preparing to welcome it with open arms.
The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay will enter into Richmond’s boundaries on Sunday, May 20.
And, with Hansen being one of Richmond’s most celebrated sons, the city wants to make sure it marks the occasion with the respect it deserves.
A report presented this week to city council indicates how the relay — a 7,000-runner, 12,000-kilometre event through more than 700 communities to celebrate 25 years since Hansen’s famous Main Motion tour — will make brief stops at community centres before culminating at the Olympic oval.
Short community centre stops en route to the oval could include South Arm, Steveston, West Richmond and Thompson.
It’s planned for the relay, which has involved each runner passing a single Rick Hansen medal onto each other, to reach the oval’s plaza by around 4 p.m. for a “day-end celebration.”
The relay was organized to highlight the progress made in the areas of accessibility and spinal cord research.
According to the report, the Richmond Centre for Disabilities has agreed to participate in planning and hosting a “barrier-free” event.
A total of $40,000 will be needed to host the relay in Richmond; $10,000 for traffic and parking control; $10,000 for event production and security and $20,000 for event staging, equipment and technical support.
The city has still to decide who the final medal bearer will be for the arrival at the oval plaza and has still to start recruiting and training a large group of event volunteers.
Hansen’s anniversary tour kicked off six months ago in Cape Spear, NL with the Man in Motion himself ushering 13-year-old Jacob Manning - the first of 7,000 relay medal-bearers - away from the start line to begin a chain reaction of nine months of road travel across Canada to Vancouver.
This time around, Hansen is being represented and celebrated by many in motion, as 7,000 participants from across Canada - who have made a difference in their own communities and in the lives of others - will walk, wheel or run in the 12,000 kilometre relay.