The first annual Santa Fun Run Fundraiser promoted a healthy, active lifestyle while supporting families requiring assistant getting involved in recreational activities through Gifts of Kindness.
“We wanted to connect with Gifts of Kindness because they have created a fund for recreation, in particular, to help families in need in Chestermere and southeast Rocky View to access recreation,” said Community Recreation Coordinator Katelyn Richards.
“All of the money we raised will go directly towards families getting a pass to go swimming, or transportation to get to a rec centre outside out Chestermere or within Chestermere or helping with fees,” she said.
On the morning of Dec. 14, 20 runners ran 5 km, warmed up by a bonfire, made smores following the run, and collected race knits with items from the Chestermere Recreation Coalition (CRC), Chestermere Public Library, Synergy and Camp Chestermere.
“It went great. It wasn’t too windy, it was chilly, but it wasn’t too cold, everyone showed up, and all of the nice Christmas lights were on in Anniversary Park,” Richards said.
Organizing events that promote healthy lifestyles is important for Richards as the city is always looking for ways to get residents active in the community.
“We do have an active running group in Chestermere,” Richards said.
Adding getting people active and helping residents access recreational services inspired the Santa Fun Run Fundraiser.
Not only did the Santa Fun Run Fundraiser help support families in the community, but it also benefited Chestermere’s running community, by participating in a timed race.
“It’s always great to do something you love and stay in your community,” Richards said.
“This gave the opportunity for many of them that love those 5 km runs to do it right here where they live,” she said.
The Chestermere Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and the CRC have given feedback that there are families going to the city saying they do need help gaining access to recreational opportunities, or support getting their children involved in sporting opportunities because they are struggling financially.
“The recreation coalition and the city really thought this would be a good opportunity to help those families,” Richards said.
A highlight for Richards during the Santa Fun Run Fundraiser was the event gaining the attention of a lone runner going out for a morning run.
“There was one lone runner who was just running on her own in the morning, she noticed us, came over, donated and she ended up running with us which was really cool,” Richards said.
She added, “We got a lot of really great feedback from those runners who participated saying they love this kind of thing, and they want more of it, and we want to provide more of that.”