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Pulling a plane for Special Olympics in NWT
Seventh annual Hercules-pull challenge looks for participants

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, August 10, 2013

It'll require some herculean strength to tug that cargo plane down the runway, but the reward at the end of the line will be well worth the struggle.

NNSL photo/graphic

Special Olympics NWT pull a First Air Hercules aircraft in last year's Law Enforcement Torch Run Hercules Pull Challenge. - NNSL file photo

Lynn Elkin, executive director of Special Olympics Northwest Territories, said without the annual Hercules-pull challenge, Special Olympics in the Northwest Territories wouldn't be the same.

"It's super," Elkin said. "This is our primary source of funding."

The seventh annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Hercules Pull Challenge will take place on September 14 and organizers are looking for teams to join. Teams are required to pull a 90,000 pound Hercules transport plane a distance of 15 metres in the fastest time possible.

Each team is made up of 15 participants -- there's mixed gender teams, all-female and all-male teams -- and are required to raise a minimum of $375 towards Special Olympics in the NWT.

Cst. Warren Hudym, an organizer for the event, said many agencies involved in law enforcement in the NWT contribute to the event, such as the RCMP, Department of Transportation and the Department of Justice.

Hudym has been helping with the event for the past seven years. He says the challenge is tough, but rewarding.

Elkin said the money has helped the organization add a youth program and more sports programs than they had in the past. She says the Hercules-pull normally raises $12-15,000 a year for the athletes.

"It's kind of hard to stop raising money when you see changes like that," Hudym said.

Special Olympics Northwest Territories supports 45 athletes who compete in a number of different sports, as well as 51 coaches. They put together a team for the Hercules-pull as well.

"We love it because it's a really public event that people seem to have fun doing. It's generally a great time and it lets our athletes come out," Elkin said.

Hudym said the event typically sees about 20 teams participating, or around 200-250 participants, plus dozens of other spectators.

First Air provides the Hercules aircraft for the participants to pull, grounding it for operations for an entire day to help with the event.

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