Nearly 700 people participated in the annual Fallen 4 Marathon Sunday in honour of the four RCMP officers killed in Mayerthorpe in 2005.
The 6th annual marathon, which runs from Mayerthorpe to Whitecourt, honours the lives of RCMP constables Anthony Gordon, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Peter Schiemann. They were killed in an ambush by James Roszko who later killed himself.
'It's always in the back of your mind... Every time you go to work and every time you see another officer on the road, or walking down the street. It’s just a reality.' - Const. Corey Wright
This year’s event was particularly significant for participants, with the deaths of the three RCMP constables who were killed in Moncton, N.B, on Wednesday also on people’s minds.
“It’s Mayerthorpe again,” said Karen Keist about the Moncton shootings. “It’s just not right. It gets emotional. People go out, do a job, and everyone else comes home.”
Keist grew up in Mayerthorpe and said the marathon is good for the community to come together and heal.
“It’s become a family thing and it’s just a show of support,” she said. “It brings the community together, brings families together and it makes you reflect a little and appreciate things.”
Among the first to cross the finish line were three police officers from Camrose. It’s the fourth time they’ve done the race and they all said you never really get over a tragedy like the one that occurred in Mayerthorpe.
“It’s always in the back of your mind,” said Const. Corey Wright. “You might not necessarily think about it on a daily basis, but it’s there. Every time you go to work and every time you see another officer on the road, or walking down the street. It’s just a reality.”
“It really bring it back home how dangerous our jobs can be,” said Const. Matthew Wilton.
Proceeds from the Fallen 4 Marathon are donated to numerous non-profits. As well, more than $157,000 has been donated to the communities of Mayerthorpe and Whitecourt in the last five years.