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Rick Hansen's cross-country relay to start today

A cross-Canada relay that will pass through the Tri-Cities to mark the 25th anniversary of the Man In Motion tour was to start today (Wednesday) in Newfoundland.

A cross-Canada relay that will pass through the Tri-Cities to mark the 25th anniversary of the Man In Motion tour was to start today (Wednesday) in Newfoundland.

Man In Motion Rick Hansen was to kick off his national tour at a ceremony with the mayor of St. John's, Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and the first of 7,000 Canadians who will hang the Royal Canadian Mint medal around their necks for the commemorative relay.

John Gibson of the Rick Hansen Foundation said it still needs B.C. runners, walkers and cyclists to sign up for the tail end of the nine-month journey that wraps up on May 22, 2012, in Vancouver; participants will be chosen through an online contest.

Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam are set to see Hansen, a fundraiser and advocate for spinal cord injury research, and local relay runners on May 17, 2012, while Port Moody will greet them on May 18, 2012.

Next month, Coquitlam and PoCo city staff are expected to meet to thrash out the details for their respective welcoming events (a call to PoMo was not returned by The Tri-City News' deadline yesterday).

The foundation has pegged Coquitlam to be an end-of-day community and has requested a wrap-up celebration - one the city has estimated would cost up to $58,000 (a report will go before city council Sept. 12).

Meanwhile, Gibson said the foundation is working with the family of Terry Fox, who was a friend of Hansen's, to pay tribute to the PoCo hero at stops along the 12,000-km relay, including in Thunder Bay, where Fox ended his Marathon of Hope in 1980.

As well, Gibson said the foundation hopes to visit some Atlantic Canada schools next month to tie the Man In Motion relay with the annual Terry Fox Runs.

The global Man in Motion tour took 26 months and saw Hansen pass through 34 countries. During his trip across Canada, Hansen, a Richmond resident, took on one of his toughest climbs - Coquitlam's Thermal Drive - before finishing the tour on May 22, 1987 (Hansen challenged it again in 2007 for the 20th anniversary of his tour).

To be part of the relay, visit rickhansenrelay.com to apply by Dec. 28. Entrants must be 13 or older and must demonstrate how they are improving the lives of other Canadians.

jwarren@tricitynews.com

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