Kidsport stages the Thrifty Foods Kids Run at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon as another major fundraiser to help get more kids into sports who might financially be shut out. Photo courtesy Kidsport Victoria

39th Year for GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon supports myriad charities

More than 8,000 participants expected for Oct. 7 run through Victoria and Oak Bay streets

On the morning of Oct. 7, more than 8,000 people will cinch their running shoes and hit the streets for the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

Organizers are busily preparing for all the activities surrounding the 39th annual race day.

“We’ve been at this for a while now so, at this point, the whole thing tends to run like a well-oiled machine,” said Louise Hodgson-Jones, media relations.

That confidence aside, no one would argue that the event is a simple undertaking. It takes more than 1,600 volunteers to make it happen but Hodgson-Jones explained that the race has a strong volunteer base and that other organizations and schools have been a great help in providing assistance.

“These are the people who really make it happen. They do everything from functioning as race marshals to manning aid stations, to just participating in set up and clean up. There are a thousand different tasks and the volunteers have always been there to make it happen.”

In addition to the official full marathon course, runners not wishing to do the full distance have the option of registering for any of a number of options.

Organizers have included the half-marathon, the 8K Road Race (a fast paced scenic route through downtown and Beacon Hill) , and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run.

The Kids Run is a 1.25 km loop, open to all kids 12 years of age and under. Parents are allowed to run alongside their kids and are not required to register.

Naturally, given the number of runners and the variety of courses, there will be some road closures with which the non-runner types will have to contend.

The Marathon will affect vehicular traffic in the following areas: Downtown, James Bay, Cook Street Village, Beacon Hill Park, Fairfield, Oak Bay and Uplands. Police, city staff and race organizers are working to ensure a safe route for the participants and the community and minimize delays, but residents and commuters should expect some delays, and be prepared to use alternate routes. Approximate times for road closures can be found at runvictoriamarathon.com/2018-route-road-closures.

Roads will be re-opened on a rolling schedule as the participants pass through the various neighbourhoods.

It’s also important to note that no parking will be allowed on the race route. No parking, special event signs will be put up in the City of Victoria and cars will be towed from the course on Sunday morning.

The marathon is, of course, a fundraiser and Hodgson-Jones explained that the organization is closing in on the $2 million mark for fundraising.

“Next year is our 40th anniversary and I’m confident we’ll be breaking that $2 million mark during that anniversary year.”

There are actually a number of charities supported by the event, and organizers have made it possible for participants to decide where they want their money to go.

The first official charity is KidSport Greater Victoria, a charitable organization that raises funds to pay for sport registration fees for children from families in financial need. To date, the group has helped more than 10,700 Victoria and area kids get on the playing field.

The second charity is the Pacific Autism Family Network. It’s a charitable organization with a mandate to serve the needs of all individuals and families in British Columbia affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada, with approximately 1 in 68 children now facing diagnoses. (pacificautismfamily.com)

Finally, the marathon also supports the GoodLife Kids Foundation. The Foundation raises funds to support national, provincial and local programs that provide ongoing physical activity opportunities for kids and that remove some of the barriers currently preventing children from living healthy, active lives. (goodlifekids.com)

“People also have the option of donating to another charity through our CHEK Charity Pledge Program,” said Hodgson-Jones. “That’s a program where participants can choose for a list of charities and raise money for the charity of their choosing.”

Black Press is proud to join others as an official sponsor of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

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