Together with 14,000 other runners, members of Raincoast’s salmon team took part in the kid’s run, 8 km, half marathon and full marathon events at the GoodLife Fitness Marathon on October 10th, 2010. Standing at the starting line amidst a sea of runners, I felt both excited and nervous. Many of us, including my friend, Rachel, and I, had been training for this event for several months. With the days of forcing ourselves out of bed early and squeezing in runs after work behind us, there was an air of great anticipation in the crowd. To the sounds of music and cheering, we—2600 wheelchair, elite, and recreational athletes—were soon off on our 42 km journey. Running conditions were perfect; starting out cloudy and cool and blossoming into a sunny afternoon. Along the way, 1500 generous volunteers handed out drinks, directed traffic and cheered on the teeming school of runners. Bands along the route added rhythm to our strides, and exuberant spectators shouted their encouragement.
My thoughts roamed as the course took us along Dallas Road, through Oak Bay, and past Cattle Point. It was energizing to be running with so many other people and to be supported by volunteers, friends and family along the way. I felt especially grateful to those who sponsored our run, including family, friends, and Raincoast’s title sponsor, Hemp & Co. From our giving page alone, Rachel and I received over $2000 towards Raincoast’s kids programs. With these pledges, Raincoast’s team of educators will provide expanded opportunities for Heiltsuk youth to take part in educational activities on ecology and conservation. Having volunteered to help deliver these programs for four years, I feel strongly that these opportunities are important for Heiltsuk youth, who are future stewards of BC’s coast and beyond.
Despite aches and pains by the end of the run, I felt proud to have finished. Like a salmon completing its lifecycle, I had given it my all. And, similar to some species of male salmon, I was much redder at the end of the race! We are grateful for the generous donations we have received to date. We welcome additional pledges which can be made online at our Canada Helps Giving Page (http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPage/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=9445). With thanks and warm wishes, Rachel and Heather