By Justin Seward
Sunny South News
The 11th annual Coaldale 5K Family Fun Run attracted 500 runners between in-person and virtually on a crisp wintery-like morning.
Participants dispersed from the start line at Coaldale Christian School and ran a route that included a mix of country, gravel and scenery along a canal.
The run’s focus is to encourage healthy outdoor activity, enhance family time, and bring cohesiveness to Coaldale.
“Last year was only a virtual event,” said Melanie Harthoorn, race director.
“This year we decided to combine virtual and in-person to give people the option of participating in a community event again.”
Harthoorn said people really loved the virtual aspect of the Fun Run.
“But there are still some people that maybe are considered vulnerable and just wanted to be able to participate in their own time, even on their own treadmill at home,” she said.
Excitement was felt when planning an in-person event again.
“Our community is looking forward to getting together again,” she said.
“I think one thing that COVID has taught us, it’s that relationships and community is very important.”
Medals were up for grabs for the top 3 contestants in every category and prizes were up for grabs for the youngest runner, oldest runner, the fastest male and female runner, fastest stroller pusher, corporate teams and special student prizes.
“You know for most parents, they’re stuck watching their kids at a basketball game or a hockey game,” she said.
“This an event the entire family can participate in together. We have had participants as old as 86 and as young as three and cross the finish line all by themselves. So, it really appeals to people of all ages and abilities.”
Lethbridge’s Josh Leblanc was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 16.49.
“It felt good,” said Leblanc.
“I mean effort-wise, it felt harder than it should — it’s cold, it’s gravel — but yeah I’m happy.”
Leblanc said it was a little bit windy on the backstretch today.
“So you definitely feel that, especially as you go into soft gravel and dirt,” he said.
A $2 donation from every entry could have gone to Rehoboth, who serves people with disabilities.