One of the biggest goals with Run Like A Girl has been to be able to give back to the community, and raise money for various organizations and charities. So far we have been able to donate to various organizations with the help of our amazing community! We donated 10,000$ to the Boston Marathon bombings, 3500$ to breast cancer last year, and 3000$ to childhood brain cancer in March. Our biggest event so far took place last Sunday, October 19th. We held our second annual Fight Like A Girl 5 & 10km run for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Our turnout was incredible with over 80 racers local, and 80 runners virtually! We have been touched personally by diagnoses with cancer and have watched our friends and family fight for their lives. It is so important to us to give back to those who are fighting, and help in any way that we can.
We opened registration online at the end of august. It was incredible to watch both the virtual and local run fill up. We had people participate from Isreal, New Zealand, England, Australia and the states! At our local run we had people from all over the lower mainland and even Vancouver Island! It is important for us that our virtual runners receive a proper race bib and medal for the run so that they feel like they were truly running a race with us. We custom designed our own race bibs and medals. This cut into the amount we were able to donate, but we knew this was an important aspect to making the virtual and local run a success. The Breast Cancer Foundation also gave us breast cancer ribbons and bracelets to give out in the race packages. We spent countless hours packaging the race packages up and getting them in the mail to send all around the world. For our local run, we had Muscle Milk Canada supply racers with after-race protein milk which was incredible. We also had Hammer Nutrition Canada supply us with energy bars and protein bars. We also had a few give aways including hydration belts for running, coffee for all runners in the morning, and aid station food. Although it was only a 5 and a 10km we really put our heart and soul into this run so that people enjoyed themselves. Everyone seemed to love the salt and vinegar chips at the aid-station!
Within a few weeks of mailing out the race packages and t-shirts, people from our community from all around the world starting posting photos on our wall of their race packages arriving safely. It was really cool to see how excited everyone was getting about the run, and the cause. We wanted the virtual runners to feel included in the run as much as possible and that is why we spent time and money on the race bibs and medals. We encouraged everyone who participated in the local run to send us pictures of themselves after their run.
The week leading up the run, the weather was miserable and we became nervous that the rain would affect our run. We spent hours organizing details, race packages, aid stations, prizes and volunteer’s jobs. Courtney and I (Hailey) headed out on our bikes the night before to flag the course with head lamps. We had so much fun flagging in the dark. The day of the race, we awoke at 4:30 to meet at the park, and we were happily surprised with clear skies! While Courtney and Dayna set up everything for package pick up, t-shirt sales, and post race food, I headed out on my bike to place our motivation signs, arrows and to ensure all the flagging was still in place! Our volunteers graciously showed up at 7 to help us with last minute details. We honestly could not have done this event without them so THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
As runner’s started checking in, the sun started shinning, and everyone was smiling! We had friends come, strangers, family, coworkers, members from our community that we hadn’t met yet! People were dressed in pink, in tutus, in matching shirts! After a quick pre-run briefing and a huge thank you to everyone for helping us raise over 3000$, we set the 10km runners out, shortly followed by the 5km runners! Soon everyone was out on the beautiful trails of the Fort to Fort Trail and Huston trail.
While everyone was out running, our friend Simone led a kids race, and all the kids got a t-shirt and a medal! It was incredible to watch the kids run, so full of energy, with smiles on their faces!!
The three of us stayed at the finish line, with medals in our hands. It was so exciting when the first runners starting come in. The finish line was full of smiles, and hugs. It was pretty special to place medals around each runner’s necks who had worked very hard to achieve what they had done. Many of the runners were running their respected distances for the first time. The kids who had ran the kids run decided that they want to help us hand out medals! Courtney and I stood at the finish line with the army of kids. Everyone’s face at the finish line was the same, a huge smile. It is pretty hard not to smile when an absolutely adorable kid is standing there with your finishers medal! Dayna did an absolutely fabulous job running the store and keeping track of the kids while their mums ran the race!
After the race was done, we cleaned up, hugged each other for a job well done, and headed home. Our Facebook page exploded with pictures from our community of our virtual racers who had ran with us, from all around the world on the same day. It was absolutely amazing.
This was the third of many races that Run Like A Girl plans to have. We are dreaming of bigger events, both local and virtual to help raise money for other charities and causes. We are hosting our first official trail race in the Spring of 2015 on the North Shore. We know the running community is amazing community of people who love to help others. Runners seem to share a special bond. Any race we have ever participated in, you meet new friends along the way. Through the Run Like A Girl community we have made many new friendships, and have gained amazing and new experiences through these relationships. The sky is truly the limit, and we know that there is so much more ahead of this community.
All photos are taken by the amazing, wonderful, ADAM Ciuk!