I’ve done charity races and fund-raising before. As many of you know, I’ve been running the Scotiabank Half Marathon on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation for the past four years. Early in my running career, I did some fundraising for The Underwear Affair. The West Van Run Crew did fundraising for the Vancouver Food Bank as part of our Eastside 10K team run.
But this was my first participation in a ‘casual’ run for the specific purpose of raising cash for an important charity.
On Sunday, I gathered with about 75 local runners for a fun, informal run – the second annual Run to Give YVR (#RunToGiveYVR). I missed the inaugural run last year, but made sure this one made it into my calendar!
While the forecast called for rain, the clouds held onto the Vancouver sunshine for most of the run, which started out at the Giant Birds in Olympic Village. Rather than bike or drive, I ran the 5k across Burrard Bridge and along the south side of the False Creek Seawall to join everyone – and that everyone included epic marathoner Rob Watson (“for our thousandth photo together”):
And Debra Kato (thanks for the photos!), who represented the West Van Run Crew with me!
At 9am, the crowd of runners from multiple run crews gathered for introductions – of both the organizers, and the charity we were running for. We were welcomed by Mabel Nipshank, a First Nations matriarch and representative of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre – who acknowledged that we were running on unceded Coast Salish Territory. She had us form a huge circle, and we joined her in a traditional song – video here (courtesy of @RunGo).
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) is a vital organization in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood – the Vancouver DTES. The mission of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for women from all walks of life, who live and/or work in the Downtown Eastside. To achieve this goal, the Centre provides supportive surroundings with meals, counseling, advocacy and programs which nurture and empower members. Among the vital services the Centre provides is a hot lunch program every day of the year.
You can make a donation to the DEWC here or click on the donate button.
This event was started last year by Kate Gustafson (@atrueworld), who is a volunteer at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. She combined her passion for that organization and her enthusiasm for running. I had a chance to run with her a bit – and we talked about the local running community. There are lots of runners in Vancouver, and we all have groups / clubs / crews that we run with. Kate wanted to organize an event that would bring all these people together – to collaborate for a good cause.
And Run to Give YVR was born!
It was a big group. Lots of runners, lots of skill levels and speeds. We all headed out together – and some folks would end up running further, some turning back sooner. It didn’t matter. This was about gathering, and running, and making a difference.
We headed out around Science World. Although most of the snow has melted on the streets, the Seawall was extremely slushy. I was glad I had decided to wear my trail shoes! We continued around False Creek until we reached Burrard Bridge (hey – I’m almost home!) – and at that 4k mark, we headed back the way we had come to finish off the 8k route.
I ran into Debra on the way by!
Back at the start/finish, I had a quick chat with Kate, Kim Doerkson (@kdoerks), and Sabine – all part of the organizing committee for the 2016 Run to Give YVR.
Kate & me
Kim & Sabine
And then I ran home. Glad that I came out. And happy to share that, in total, over $5,000 was raised on behalf of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre! Looking forward to what is achieved in 2017!
What are your thoughts on charity runs?