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First responders relay added to Ten Mile Road Race

The 88th edition of the event is set for May 20.
More than 500 athletes entered the 2023 Firefighters Ten Mile Road Race on Monday, May 22, 2023. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – Dylan Patterson knows firsthand just how big of a deal the Firefighters Ten Mile Road Race is.

He remembers the old grade school relays to train towards competing in the road race and then going on to run in the race after following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a firefighter.

“I came back from fire school in 2018, and I ended up running in my gear,” Patterson said.

“I will admit . . . I wasn’t in prime shape at the end of that one.

“Then, in my first year as a firefighter for the city, I ran in it again, and I got the Ed Fokens Award for the fastest rookie. There’s a lot of traditions that go along with this event and to carry that on is very important.”

A new tradition is being added to this year’s race, which will be held on May 20.

The firefighters are inviting members of the police and EMS services to take part in a First Responders Relay Race challenge. The race will feature five competitors running two miles of the course.

“Cardiovascular health is really important for first responders,” Patterson said.

“You can go from 0 to 60 pretty quick, and your heart can feel like it’s jumping out of your chest when the fire alarm goes off, or you have to go out to a call in the middle of the night.

“Everybody deals with stress like that, and cardiovascular health is something that we might not think about at times as our lives are busy and we fall out of fitness routines.

“So, we’re encouraging everyone to join us for the run. It doesn’t matter what uniform you wear – we’re one big family.”

In addition to the First Responders relay, the open division relay is returning this year, which is for all ages.

“We’re trying to generate interest and participation from youngsters, and the relay race gives that opportunity for people that maybe haven’t done a long run or haven’t been able to prepare or train up for it,” said race director Hebert Daniher.

“Now they can join a relay team and still be part of the race-community and be part of the race experience.”

Daniher has been involved with the Road Race since the 1970s. He ran every year until health issues moved him to an administrative role.

“Fishing is everybody else’s hobby on the May long weekend, but for runners, it’s the road race,” Daniher said.  

Online registration for this year’s race, which can be done on the Road Race’s website, closes on May 13.

Daniher also stressed that the organizing committee is in need of volunteers, especially for the position of barricade marshals.

“A lot of the people that used to volunteer have either aged out or haven’t returned after we had the break due to COVID,” Daniher said.

“The job isn’t too onerous. You just set up a couple of barricades and then you basically get to cheer on the runners as they make their way down the course.”

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