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From runners to support staff, Vegas Relay teeming with RNs

After running more than 4 miles, Edward Matzen, RN, BSN, MPA, could see the sun rise over the lights of Las Vegas.

Matzen, clinical nursing director II for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, knew he had almost completed the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay. Matzen, who ran the final leg of the relay for the department’s Medical Services Bureau team was among more than a dozen nurses who participated in the April event. This was the first year that sheriff’s department medical personnel were invited to have a team in the annual relay, which began in 1985 and involves law enforcement from around the world running from Baker, Calif., to Las Vegas.

“Most people aren’t up at that hour,” Matzen said. “It was fun to be running over the top of [Interstate 15] and looking over at the cars going by at that time of the morning. It was pretty clear, so you could see all the way up and down the Strip and see all the hotels and buildings.”

Edward Matzen, RN, runs while a vehicle follows for his team along the 120-mile course. RNs in the vehicle are Joel Kellogg, driver, and Roger Gallion, backseat. The passenger in the front is Commander of Medical Services Bureau Dave Fender.

The Medical Services Bureau team finished 145th out of 270 and came in sixth in its division. Of the 20 runners on the team, 13 were either RNs or LVNs, with three RNs also participating as alternate runners.

About a dozen nurses also provided support to runners, driving participants to their starting points and offering water, blankets and other provisions. Nurses from the sheriff’s department also volunteered to help provide medical assistance during the relay.

Matzen said L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Badali approached the Medical Services Bureau last fall about participating in this year’s relay. To prepare for the race, Matzen and other medical personnel participants began running weekly and working out at home.

A group of Medical Services Bureau running and support team.

“I had not been running since I was a kid,” Matzen said. “It was the first time in a very long time.”

Being part of the relay not only gave Matzen a chance to improve his health, but bond with fellow co-workers, he said.

MSB running team (runners and alternates only), back top row from left Gil Pagado, Clinical Laboratory Scientist; Marphoe (Murphy) Acocoro, RN; Jesus Guanzon, RN; Dr. Richard Kratz, Physician; and Kingsley Ho, Pharmacist; middle row Nicholas Bell, RN; Oliver Tolentino, LVN; Melanie Ybarola, RN; Yolanda Chicas, CNA; Hong (Helen) Wang, RN; Michael Tenazas, RN; Wilson Uy, RN; Kimon Fung, RN; front row Dr. Toby Washington, Physician; Vadym Mykhaylov, RN; Egzine Richardson, RNP; Stephanus Eman, RN; Joe Badali, Lieutenant; Steven Wilson, Lieutenant; Christian Arellano, RN; Vance Peterson, RN; Edward Matzen, RN; Roger Gallion, RN; and Dr. Mark Malek, Physician.

“The camaraderie among the runners and support team has brought us closer together and strengthened the relationships among us,” Matzen said. “We are better people for the whole experience.”

Matzen said the medical services team plans on running in the relay again next year. For more information on the Medical Services Bureau, visit or call 866-806-8773.

By | 2020-04-15T13:54:11-04:00 June 13th, 2011|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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