Story by Arlene Herrero, Club Vice President of
Business Development;Photos by Dylan Herrero
The 38th annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay returned after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The race was held in the desert and ending in Las Vegas April 9-10.
This amazing footrace is an annual event for public safety organizations throughout the world. The relay race is a 120-mile, 20-stage footrace between Baker, Calif., and Las Vegas and is considered the “Super Bowl” of law enforcement; the champions are the best, in terms of physical fitness and logistics the police world has to offer. The race was created by and is managed by the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club, and the Employees Club is grateful for their leadership.
Some 216 teams competed in this year’s race. Overall winner was the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Elite Running Team, which finished in 13 hours, 23 minutes and 27 seconds.
The Club sponsored a great mix of six teams this year – somewhat fewer than in pre-pandemic races, and the Club is proud of each and every one of them:
- State of California/Dept. of State Hospitals-Metropolitan.
- LAPD Communications/LAPD Security Services Division (they joined forces). This team mugged – they came in fifth in their category. They ran in honor or Sr. PSR Ray Guerrero and Security Officer Dexter De Los Santos.
- LA County Probation, a team that also mugged.
- LA Port Police.
- LA Airport Police, a team that also mugged.
More evident at this year’s race were AED units within the follow (support) vehicles. Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Calgary Police Canada were among the only international teams in attendance.
This year, the event also had a new host hotel and finish line – Rio Las Vegas. Verizon Frontline Response Team was deployed along the racecourse where they provided critical communications to the medical professionals and race organizers. The runners this year faced temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F. during the day; at one point, the entire race was stopped for a helicopter and medics to respond. Seventeen participants required medical transportation.
Notable finish times as well as how the Club’s sponsored teams finished:
- Team 156 LA Port Police finished at 19:31:09 without a penalty. Although they did not bring home a mug, “We finished at our expected overall time,” said team captain Jose Verbera.
- Team 117 LA Airport Police finished at 17:39:57 and earned a mug.
- Team 178 LADOT finished at 21:07:52. They did not earn a mug and suffered a 10-minute penalty. 2022 marked their 14th year of putting a team together to participate.
- Team 127 LAPD Communications joined forces with LAPD Security Services, finishing at 18:33:38. The team earned a mug with no penalty. According to team captain Lidia Marcial, “We ran to honor Sr. PSR Ray Guerrero for LAPD Communications and Security Officer Dexter De Los Santos.”
- Team 66 LA County Probation finished at 17:53:44, earning a mug and finishing sixth overall in their mixed category.
- Team 256 California Dept. of State Hospitals/Metropolitan finished at 22:27:58, and did not earn a mug.
- Overall winner was the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Elite Running Team, followed by Team 2 LAPD Dept. Team, finishing at 13:33:41. Team 8 Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept. #1 Team finished at 14:17:12
The same scenario could be seen with the women’s teams, where Team 61 LA County Sheriff’s Dept. Women took first in the category, finishing at 16:17:13, followed by Team 43 LAPD Women, who finished at 16:23:38. Following was Team 221 Riverside County Sheriff Women’s team in third place within their category, finishing at 18:12:01.
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was at the finish line to congratulate many LASD runners. LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore who also was on hand at one of the start times to fire the starting pistol.
Thanks to all who participated and contributed to another memorable Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay, and specifically: Sgt. Latisha Vargas, LADOT; Officer Jose Verbera, LA Harbor; Gus Marroquin, LA County Probation; Officer Daniel Gardea, LA Airport Police; Lidia Marcial, LAPD Communications; Jeff MacDuff, State of California Metropolitan State Hospital, and Rick Santos, race coordinator.