The smiles on the faces of the young runners participating in the Thrifty Foods Kid’s Run at the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon are a special part of the race weekend.
Behind the scenes, a volunteer team from Kidsport Victoria helps make this 1.25-kilometre fun run happen and ensure the experience is an enjoyable one for the kids and their families.
Those volunteers know their efforts on the day are appreciated by many. Also appreciated are their efforts through the year to get more children signed up for sports activities that their families might otherwise not be able to afford.
Since 2000, proceeds from the Thrifty Foods Kid’s Run have helped Kidsport Victoria do what it does best, which is to cover the registration costs of between 1,200 and 1,500 children per year aged 18-under.
“[This year’s Kid’s Run] will provide a season of sport for 75 local kids in need,” says Jill Shaw, the non-profit organization’s executive director. “Marathon weekend is certainly one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, and the partnership with Thrifty Foods helps us reach a ton of kids in need.”
At this time of year Kidsport fields many requests for funding help, she says, given that soccer and hockey seasons, among others, are starting up.
While the Kid’s Run is a direct fundraiser for Kidsport, individual runners in the marathon, half-marathon and 8K road race may also be raising money for the organization, as it is one of the marathon’s designated charities.
And some of those runners may also finish their run in time to watch or run alongside their kids on the looping route along Menzies, Superior and Kingston streets.
Advance registration for the Oct. 7 Thrifty Foods Kid’s Run, open to runners 12-under, is $20 and includes a commemorative shirt, post-race snacks and visits with Superheroes. The cost jumps to $25 if signing up on race weekend, when Kidsport reps will be on hand at the race expo at the Victoria Conference Centre. Parents are welcome to accompany young children at no cost.
Shaw, noting the Kid’s Run is a great way to raise awareness of their services, uses the run cost to point out the significance of the financial support.
“$20 is sometimes manageable for some families, but hockey registration for a season may not be,” she says. “The prices aren’t going down, and we get more applications every year.”
Helping Kidsport put on a great event are title sponsor Thrifty Foods, which takes care of the hard costs for the run such as the shirts; Oak Bay Bikes, which donates four bikes per year for draw prizes, one per age group; and Winslow Properties, which awards $1,000 to the school team with the most runners participating, for use at the school.
To register for the Thrifty Foods Kid’s Run, visit runvictoriamarathon.com/register and to find out more about Kidsport Victoria, go to kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/greater-victoria.