First Responders Race At Boat Show

By Sara Faruqi, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:09 p.m. January 12, 2016
Updated: 4:52 p.m. January 12, 2016

Toronto Paramedic Services paramedics beat defending champions Toronto Police in the annual Anchors Aweigh Relay Race at the Toronto International Boat Show.

Two  men in wet suits carrying silver anchors on their shoulders run in an indoor swimming pool
Constable Giovanni Liggio takes the lead against Paramedic Josh Van Attenberg at the Anchors Aweigh Relay Race

This was the ninth year of the relay race that was part of Water Safety Awareness Day at the show.

Teams from the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, Toronto Paramedic Services and the Royal Canadian Navy HMCS York took part in the race. The teams of four ran the length of the world’s largest indoor lake at the Ricoh Coliseum while carrying a 30 pound anchor on their shoulders in the three-degree Celsius water.

The winning team received a trophy and prize money for a charity of their choice, along with their bragging rights.

“It was a complete surprise, we weren’t expecting to win, we were just expecting to have fun” said Paramedic Ryan Willis, of the first win for the Paramedic team in the race's history. “It feels great as we were up against some stiff competition and these guys are in great shape. We were just happy to come down here and give it a go on the fly."

Three men in wet suits carrying anchors, fourth man can be seen falling with a big splash in the background
And we're off! The start of the race saw EMS leading, with TPS close behind, the Fire Fighters closing in and a slip by the Navy team at the start

“Although we won the event, we work with these people all the time, we work tremendously as a team, so our strength here is really as a team: police, fire, paramedics and the armed forces as well, we are so proud to be a part of this today,” said Toronto Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Garrie Wright.

Although disappointed with their loss, the Toronto Police team made up of Sergeant Gerard Klunder and Constables Dan Macnab, Giovanni Liggio and Russell Hardy enjoyed the competition.

“It was a lot of fun, good sportsmanship by all and I have to say the medics fastest guy trains with the Marine Unit,” said Liggio, of paramedics who work alongside Marine Unit officers on Lake Ontario. 

“There was good competitive spirit, and there is always a spirit around the water of camaraderie and helping one another but being competitive at the same time,” said Staff Superintendent Rick Stubbings, who was there to cheer on the Marine Unit team.

Four men in wet suits in an indoor pool posing for a photo
The four officers representing Toronto Police were Sergeant Gerry Klunder along with Constables Giovanni Liggio, Dan Macnab and Russell Hardy
TPS crest watermark