By Cal Braid
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Sunny South News
Coaldale Christian School will be presenting the eleventh Annual Coaldale 5km Family Fun Run. Registrations are now open, and the event will be held on Saturday, April 9, beginning at 10 a.m. at the school. The virtual event will take place from April 2- 9.
The Family Fun Run is set up as a run or a walk and participants have the option of attending either the in-person or virtual event. The in-person event gives runners and walkers a chance to enjoy a spring day and connect with new and familiar faces.
“Mel and I have been running this project since its inception, and we are going on with our eleventh event,” Marketing Co-ordinator, Colleen Van Raalte said. “We have been doing this together all this time. We try to do something new every year to make our campaign vibrant and exciting.”
“The first year we had 246 people. The most we had was 719 in 2018. The virtual event in 2021 had 424 people,” said Melanie Harthoorn, event director.
Their vision for the event, and for the Town of Coaldale, is to bring a sense of cohesiveness and togetherness to the members of their community. As parents of Coaldale Christian School students, they aim to make a difference in the town.
“It’s important to Coaldale Christian School that we are also a member of our community, striving to work with various businesses and community members,” Raalte explained. “We don’t want to be known as this independent school on the outskirts of town. We call it ‘shining our light’. We really want to be involved in our town.”
They’ve attracted an impressive list of sponsors, with over 60 contributing to their cause. Their cause focuses on community enhancements.
“This year we plan on upgrading the field south of Pinnacle Park. There’s a soccer field there, but it’s in very poor shape, so we would like to redo the sprinkler systems and re-grade and re-sod it. There’s also an old tennis court and we would like to rip that out and replace it with a new ball-hockey and basketball court,” Harthoorn said.
Participants in this year’s Family Fun Run pay an entry fee and the money goes towards staging the event, with $2 from each entry donated to Rehoboth an organization which serves people with disabilities. The remainder of the money brought in from sponsorship is directed towards the year’s community enhancements. Harthoorn noted, “they sponsor us with cash or an equivalent prize donation. In return for their sponsorship, we give them varying levels of advertising.”
Together, the organizers and sponsors have arranged an array of medals and awards to liven up the competitive spirit of the fun run. Included are medals for the top three contestants in each age category, the prize for the Youngest Independent Contestant, and the Top Overall award. There’s also a Corporate Team Challenge and a School Team Challenge, with $1,500 up for grabs to the school with the largest team. Students participating in the school team challenge are eligible for one of ten $50 Sport Chek gift cards, to sweeten the deal even further.
Harthoorn and Raalke have broadened the scope of the fun run to welcome runners from both near and far — and it has worked. Participants are not only local; they travel from other regions of Alberta and beyond. The support of the many sponsors who have made financial commitments to the fun run is met with deep appreciation. It’s a testament to the benefits that materialize from ambitious community members who are invested in their town.
“We are so very thankful and appreciative of our sponsors and our community, and we have sponsors who have been with us since the inception of this project,” said Raalke.
“All of us together, working together, can make Coaldale the vibrant community that it is.”
For more information, go to https://www.racepro.ca/coaldale/