New Yellowknife running series proves popular

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If you’re a marathoner, you train to be able to run 42.2-km.

If you’re a recreational runner, you train to be able to run a short race of, say, 5-km. Problem is there aren’t that many races in Yellowknife which feature a 5-km distance.

Cameron Twa is trying to solve that problem and it would appear people have jumping on board.

Twa is the brainchild behind the Fun Run/Walk Challenge, a new series of 5-km events designed to get people out and active in the city. The challenge is a joint initiative between the Yk Multisport Club and True North Rotary Club.

Sanaa Doherty, left, and her dad, Shaun Doherty, cross the finish line together in the 3-km family fun run portion of the Fun Run/Walk Challenge's second event at Somba K'e Park on June 30. photo courtesy of Cameron Twa
Sanaa Doherty, left, and her dad, Shaun Doherty, cross the finish line together in the 3-km family fun run portion of the Fun Run/Walk Challenge’s second event at Somba K’e Park on June 30.
photo courtesy of Cameron Twa

The idea was first presented at the multisport club’s annual general meeting earlier this year by Twa.

“I wanted to start up a series of running events to get people out,” he said. “People do a lot of training for a 5-km race but it’s tough because there aren’t a lot of races like that here.”

The club gave Twa the green light to organize the series but the next question was how to get people to volunteer to help out.

That’s where True North Rotary Club came in, said Twa.

“I’m friends with Paul Falvo (president of True North Rotary) and I talked with him to see if something like this would count as service,” he said. “I wasn’t looking for indentured servants of any kind but just a bit of help.”

There are six events planned for the inaugural season with the first two having been completed. Event No. 2 happened on June 30 with 60 people signed up to take part.

“We had 44 for our first one in May so that showed people were looking for something like this,” said Twa.

Twa is quick to stress that none of these events are races of any sort, even though there is a timer at the start/finish line and participants can wear timing chips if they so choose.

“The timing is there for people who are looking to get some sort of gauge as to what sort of time they’re getting,” he said. “It’s also cool for the kids because they like wearing chips.”

Taking part in every event isn’t mandatory but there is a carrot of sorts for anyone who completes at least three of them.

“Three completed races will get you a medal,” said Twa. “If you finish more than three, you don’t get another medal but you will get a pat on the back and a ‘well done.’”

The next race is happening at the Yellowknife Ski Club on July 28 and Twa said there are at least 22 people who will qualify to receive the first medals.

Twa is hoping to make this an annual deal and he said judging by the response so far this season, year two is looking like a very real possibility.

“It’s been well-received and the response has been great,” he said. “I love the big events but there was always a place for a casual 5-km fun event. The purpose of these fun run/walks is to be as inclusive as possible to encourage participation of all abilities and age categories.”