Ever want to out-run a police officer -- without getting caught and going to jail?

Ever want to out-run a police officer -- without getting caught and going to jail?

The Reynoldsburg Division of Police and the Truro Township Fire Department are hoping people will form three-person teams to run a relay race against police and fire teams in the Relay for Relief during this year's first Mount Carmel Firecracker 5K on July 4.

Three-person teams will be able to run in the relay by raising a minimum donation of $100 to benefit the Reynoldsburg Helping Hands food pantry.

"Beat our teams and you can say that you outran the cops," Reynoldsburg Police officer Katherine Mielke said.

The race begins at 9 a.m. July 4 in front of the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1520 Davidson Drive. Race-day registration begins at 7 a.m.

General pre-registration can be completed online at premierraces.com.

Relay team and sponsorship agreement forms are posted on the city's website at ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us.

Mielke said the citizen teams may have more of a chance outrunning fire and police teams in the relay race than they think -- the safety forces teams will don heavy protective gear to run in the race. Each runner is responsible for running one-third of the relay.

"The members of the police team will be wearing their SWAT protective gear, including their tactical Kevlar vests, their duty belts -- which alone weigh approximately 25 pounds -- and will be carrying the halogen tool used for search warrants and entries on raids," she said.

Individuals, businesses, civic organizations and clubs who don't want to run farther than the nearest couch can still donate to Helping Hands by sponsoring either the police officers or the firefighters.

Mielke said police and fire teams will be seeking sponsors not only for Helping Hands donations but for bragging rights.

"The relay is not only about who wins the race, but which team has the most sponsorship for Helping Hands," she said.

She said the relay race replaces the annual Guns and Hoses softball game between the police and fire departments. The agency that brings in the most dollars and wins the relay gets the Guns and Hoses trophy to display in their headquarters until the next annual Relay for Relief.

"We were looking for a way to still have competition between both agencies but help the community in the process," Mielke said. "Our chief of police, Jim O'Neill, is a serious runner. He is on the committee for the Firecracker 5K, which is sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Visitors Bureau."

She said it was O'Neill's inspiration that began Relay for Relief, which both agencies hope will become an annual effort.

A $25 donation will allow a name or catch-phrase (subject to approval), or a business name to be added to the back of the Relay for Relief T-shirts. To have a name added to the shirts, that sponsorship is due no later than Monday, June 24.

For a $100 donation, a sponsor will receive a plaque with a photograph of the police and fire teams in their protective gear.

Sponsors who kick in even more and give a $500 donation get to ride in the July 4 parade in either a police or fire vehicle.

"This is a great way for citizens to support a worthy cause while taking part in a friendly competition between the police and fire departments," Mielke said.

Checks and/or canned goods to benefit Helping Hands may be donated at any time between now and July 4 at the Reynoldsburg Police Station, 7240 E. Main St., or at the Truro Township fire stations at 6305 E. Livingston Ave. and 6900 E. Main St.

Mielke said people who come to the police station or to one of the fire houses may donate $2 to have their picture taken with police/fire personnel or with a police/fire vehicle.

Canned goods and nonperishable dry goods also may be donated the morning of the race, at the Mount Carmel Firecracker 5K.

For questions, contact Mielke at kmielke@reypd.com or call 614-866-6622.