In an effort to provide more funding opportunities for youth-oriented programs across the North, avid runner and Inuvik RCMP officer Stephanie Leduc is looking to raise $5,000 before competing in a half-marathon later in November.
Leduc is just one of more than 70 runners from across Canada’s North who are part of the Healthy Horizons Marathon team, which asks that all members raise at least $5,000 each in order to be eligible to participate in the British Virgin Islands marathon Nov. 30.
“I’m halfway to my goal so far for raising my money. I’m hoping to get over $5,000, but I’m halfway there so that’s kind of nice,” said Leduc.
Although running is her passion, she wants to help raise money for local youth to improve the community as a whole.
“I just feel that in order to have a healthy and happy community, people need to give back,” she said. “So this is my way of kind of combining something I love to do and give back to my community into one.”
In addition to coordinating the Mini Mountain and Aboriginal Shield programs at the East Three Schools, Leduc also runs fitness programs at the Inuvik Youth Centre, and is currently starting a new program there called Chill with the Cops.
“I’m hoping that when I get back, I can access this funding to implement more programming into Chill with the Cops. Whether it’s a fitness day or something along those lines,” she said.
The $5,000 that Leduc hopes to raise will be added to the Healthy Horizons’ foundation pot that youth programs across the North can apply to in order to get funding for their programming.
The Healthy Horizons Foundation is an initiative by The North West Company, the parent company of grocery stores such as NorthMart, the Northern Store and Northern Quickstop.
“That’s part of what I’ve been doing with this run, is reaching out to local organizations such as the Greenhouse and Ski Club. Not many people know that they can access this funding,” she said. “I raise the money, and then anybody can apply to access this funding, as long as it improves healthy lifestyles for youth.”
In terms of actually running the half-marathon, she isn’t too worried.
“I have done a half-marathon before. It’s not super new to me,” she said. “It’ll be my first half-marathon since I had a baby in December.”
By participating in this initiative, she hopes to set a positive example in the community.
“Even outside of my work life, I know in my personal time, people know I’m a police officer. So what I do is going to be scrutinized and looked upon,” she said. “I hope that the things I do inspire people to either get active, get healthy or even just change their views on police officers themselves.”