The 34th annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay was held across the desert March 23-24.
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 Rotary and Athletic Club, and the Employees Club is grateful for their leadership.
The Club Sponsors Record Number of Teams
Once again, the Club was on the racecourse. This year, the Club sponsored a new Club-record nine teams from different police agencies:
- Team 112 LA Airport Police
- Team 135 Los Angeles Port Police
- Team 201 LA Transportation
- Team 205 LAPD Custody Services Division/LAPD SECSD
- Team 65 LA County Probation
- Team 222 LAPD Communications
- Team 267 CHP WLA Squad
- Team 265 DHCS State Investigators
- (New to Club sponsorship) Team 202 Women’s LA Airport Police, which entered a new category for an all-women team.
This year, 284 teams started and finished, a record number.
The overall winner was the Team #2 Belize National Police, followed by Team #1 LAPD Dept. Team, which finished at 12:50:35. Next, Team #3 LASD County Team finished at 12:50:45 but under the Invitation category instead of the Open category in which they have participated in previous years.
It was the same scenario for women’s teams, where Team #35 Women LAPD took first in the category, finishing at 15:54:32, followed by Team #44 Women LASD, which finished at 16:07:08 with 15 minutes of penalties.
New Faces appeared on the finish line: LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was at the finish line to congratulate many LASD runners. LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore, who also ran in the race, was on hand at the finish line and the awards ceremony.
Notable Finish Times
- Team 135 LA Port Police finished at 17:34:14 without a penalty, and just missing bringing home a mug (trophy) in their 150 Category, according to team captain Alex Castillo. “Our team placed ninth in our category. We are in a tough 150 Category, where all teams times average fast times. We did not receive any penalties and, despite not having any alternate runners this year, our runners were able to complete the 120-mile running challenge successfully. We will strive for a faster time next year by training harder and we hope hiring new Officers with fresh legs! We are excited to receive continued support from our Command staff and Police Officers Association.”
- Team 120 LA Airport Police finished at 16:59:27 and earned a mug.
- Team 201 LA Transportation finished at 17:55:08 – the team didn’t earn a mug but, according to team captain Manny Ortiz, “We ran a great race. The most challenging aspect of this year’s race was the delays. All teams had to go through a high number of construction adjustments, and no amount of preparation is really adequate to get around so much of the roadwork. 2020 will be the team’s 13th year, and we look to put out our best team ever.”
- Team 225 LAPD Custody Services Division finished at 18:59:52 with no penalties but also missing out on their mug.
- Team 65 LA County Probation finished at 16:12:24 and earned a mug, coming in fifth overall in the Mixed category.
- Team 222 LAPD Communications finished at 17:15:53 and, despite a 10-minute penalty and, according to the team captain Lidia Marcial, “The challenging part was when one of our runners went down near the beginning of the race. We didn’t give into the pressure; we had a strong finish and such a great team, support and runners. This year was uplifting after not mugging for four years,” making their mug this year highly celebrated.
- Team 235 DHCS State Investigators finished at 19:53:50 with a 10-minute penalty. The team didn’t earn mug during this, their second year as a team.
- Team 267 CHP WLA Squad finished at 20:44:19. They didn’t earn a mug, but team captain Amada Maravilla also felt the construction through the racecourse caused a lot of unknowns. “We struggled with new team members who were on the course for the first time. Next year we look forward to finishing with a better time. With more effort and dedication, we should be able to pull it off.”
- Team 202 Women LA Airport Police, a new participant this year, finished at 19:26:36, slightly shy of acquiring their first mug into this new category for their department.
The awards evening was filled with special thanks, as longtime Race Coordinator and Co-Founder Chuck Foote had decided to step down and retire. The role will be taken by Tony Adler. We wish Chuck Foote much success and thank him for all the many years that he continued to be part of this great event.
The Club, which has covered the Baker to Vegas Challenge Race for 15 consecutive years, wouldn’t be able to bring readers this coverage without the assistance of the following, whom we thank: Chuck Foote, Race Co-Founder; Tony Adler, Assistant Race Coordinator; Joy Matlack; Manny Ortiz, Transportation; Officer Alex Castillo, LA Harbor; Johanna Lara, LA County Probation; Asst. Chief Ron Lizardo, DHCS; Fran Sir, LA Airport Police; Lidia Marcial, LAPD Communications; Manny Ortiz, Transportation; and Officer Amada Maravilla, CHP.