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Baker to Vegas canceled once again

Last year was supposed to be the 36th Annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race and it was expected to just as big as ever, with thousands of law enforcement professionals hitting the pavement for a race that would take them, on foot, all the way from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Baker to Vegas race was just one of many events that would fall to the resultant onslaught of public health precautions, mandates, closures and restrictions.

Even then there was optimism that the following year, 2021, the race would be able to resume but one year into the pandemic, its effects are still being felt and once again, it has been announced that the Baker to Vegas has been canceled. With a grueling 120 miles of pavement spread over 20 stages that wind through the stark desert landscape, and runners pushing themselves to the limit, it is no surprise that a lack of medical support is one of the main reasons behind this year’s cancellation.

“Hello race fans and participants. The LAPRAAC (Los Angeles Police Revolver And Athletics Club) Board of Directors hopes this message finds you and your family well, safe and healthy,” a notification letter posted to the Baker to Vegas website reads. “Since the onset of COVID-19 it seems that the law enforcement community has faced harder and more difficult times as days pass by. It is because of those challenges, we at LAPRAAC have been doing everything we can to try to provide some sort of normalcy by continuing to stage the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay Race. We know how much this means to all of you as it also means so much to us.

“After the 2020 cancellation we immediately started making plans for the 2021 race. Unfortunately, due to the continued pandemic, we have to face the reality that we must cancel the 2021 Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay,” the letter continues. “This is not a decision we have made lightly. For months we have tried to power through the challenges to try at almost any cost to continue this race into 2021. But as our vigor, enthusiasm and drive to conduct the 2021 race continues to propel us forward, the safety and viability of doing so continues to diminish.”

The letter explains that medical staff on both sides of the California and Nevada border have advised that hosting the Baker to Vegas could pose a risk to the safety of all involved. Not only are medical professionals themselves in high demand due to the pandemic, there is strain on the medical system overall, with the letter explaining, “The pandemic continues to decimate the ability of the medical profession to support the event. Not only is it the doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMTs that are in limited supply, it is also the medical facilities, supplies, ambulances and helicopters.” That lack of medical support in turn means it would also be difficult for the Baker to Vegas event organizers to secure the necessary permits for the various locations through which the race is run.

In closing, the letter noted that a variety of options for a modified race were taken into consideration, including the concept of possibly reducing the size and scope of the event, but it simply was not possible.

“Unfortunately, even with the numerous ideas researched and considered, without the medical support, we just cannot pull this together in any way that would resemble the event you all know and love,” the letter concludes. “Stay safe, stay healthy and keep training, because B2V will be back and we will run the Challenge Cup Relay again!”

At present, the next Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay is set to take place April 9 and 10, 2022.

For more information on the race visit www.BakerVegas.net

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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