A cross-country journey to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World tour will stop in Nelson for three days next spring.
The nine-month, 12,000 km relay, which set off from Cape Spear, Nfld. on Wednesday, will retrace Hansen’s original tour to raise money for spinal cord injury research and is expected to involve 7,000 Canadians and 600 communities.
Nelson Regional Sports Council executive director Kim Palfenier says Hansen’s entourage will arrive here on April 19 from Creston via the Kootenay Lake ferry.
A committee has been struck and an event is being planned that day at the community complex. Rather than carry a torch, relay participants will wear a silver medal crafted by the Royal Canadian Mint.
“All the carriers on foot or wheeling or whatever they’re doing will be wearing that medal,” Palfenier says.
(Medal-bearers also get to keep a replica.)
Each participant will cover a 250 metre stretch. As the host end-of-day city, the local committee gets to choose who will do the final leg and bring the medal into the complex.
Palfenier says unlike the Olympics, where relay participants were assigned legs that weren’t necessarily close to home, in this event “you actually request the town you want to be in.”
The route will cross the orange bridge, come into downtown along Front Street, go up to Baker, down Ward, and then along Lake Street to the community complex — leaving plenty of opportunities for prospective participants. Apply online at rickhansenrelay.com by December 28.
Medal bearers must be at least 13 and available for up to three hours on the day the relay passes through.
Palfenier says Nelson is an unusual site, because the tour will actually be here for three days. The relay and event at the complex will be on a Thursday, to be followed the next day by school presentations.
Saturday is scheduled as an off day, but Palfenier says organizers have indicated if the committee wants to do something else, “they would oblige.” The tour departs on the Sunday for Castlegar and Rossland.
It wraps up in Vancouver on May 22.