The Airdrie 2020 Alberta Winter Games will kick off a few months before competitors arrive in the city, with an event at 11 a.m. Aug. 24 at East Lake Regional Park.
“The ATCO Torch Relay is actually the first official event for the Winter Games that are happening February 2020,” said Christie Jensen, special events manager with the Games.
According to Jensen, the torch relay has traditionally been done in conjunction with the Game’s opening ceremonies, but organizers of the upcoming Airdrie Games opted to try something a little different.
“We didn’t want to run in the cold in February,” she said. “We are changing the way things have been done in the past and trying something new. ATCO is very keen and excited for our new idea, as well.”
Mayor Peter Brown will kick off the torch relay and provide greetings from the City, Jensen said, after which teams and families can participate by running the torch along a one-kilometre (km) loop in the park, before standing on a podium for a photo with the flame.
While teams wait for their turn with the torch, Jensen said, there will be plenty to occupy time, including food trucks, vendors and performances by the Airdrie Games dance squad.
“We’re also making it a very family-friendly festival,” she said. “Genesis Place [Recreation Centre] youth rec leaders are going to come out and do games with kids and different physical activities with them.”
The Games will provide an important economic boost to Airdrie, according to Jensen, as athletes and spectators flock to the city to compete and watch. Airdrie is also filled with its own athletes, and, she said, participating in the torch run is a great way for the community to embrace both its own competitors and the Games as a whole.
“It’s an activity that you don’t want to miss,” Jensen said. “It’s something unique and original to Airdrie, and it’s summer fun.”
In conjunction with the relay, Airdrie 2020 Alberta Winter Games will host a 5-km and 10-km run immediately before the torch relay, along a route around East Lake and through east Airdrie.
“This is Airdrie’s only summer run, so register now and work on your personal best,” Jensen said.
On-site registration and chip-timer pickup will take place at 9 a.m., with the 10-km run starting at 10 a.m. followed by the 5-km run half an hour later.
“What’s neat about participating in our run is, each runner will receive some swag,” Jensen said. “The first 50 will receive a cooling towel and a gift card, and all runners will receive a custom buff.”
All runners will also be invited to an after party at Fitzsimmons Brewing Co., where prizes will be awarded to the top runners.
Registration for both runs and the torch relay is available at bit.ly/runtorchrelay
Participation in the 10-km run costs $60, while the 5-km run costs $50.
Although the torch relay is free, Jensen said registration is required so teams can be assigned a time-slot. The relay can accommodate 30 teams, with a maximum of six people per team.