Charity walk/runs make a difference

NANAIMO – During the past month there have also been numerous signs advertising opportunities to run (or walk) for charity.

We’ve all noticed signs recently that promote candidates running for public office. But during the past month there have also been numerous signs advertising opportunities to run (or walk) for charity…

Perhaps the first of these to appear was for the Run for the Mountain 6K event held in mid-September at Westwood Lake Park. Mike Thibodeau was the organizer again this year in the 10th annual fundraiser for Mount Benson Regional Park. A total of 223 people took part, with some walking the route while others treated it as a competitive run.

Of the latter, Courtenay’s Andrew Howard was first to the finish line with a time of 21 minutes and 21 seconds. Nanaimo’s Shelby Drope was runner-up, finishing in 21:31. Third overall and first in the masters male category was Craig Odermatt in 21:37. Fourth and first male youth, was Miles Huynh with a time of 22:03. Melissa Ross was the first female runner to finish with a time of 23:33.

Occurring the same weekend as Run for the Mountain, there were two other fundraisers. The following day saw Westwood Lake Park again busy, this time with the Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk for Hope. The other was the SPCA Paws for a Cause walk involving people and their pets walking along the waterfront at Maffeo Sutton Park.

On Sept. 20, attention shifted to Bowen Park for the 35th annual Terry Fox Run to raise money for cancer research. Attendance was strong again this year with 366 participants walking or running either a 2K or 5K route through the park. The result was nearly $26,000 raised. Special mention has to go to Jessie Mazzelli, who raised $5,000 in pledges by herself and who has raised $32,000 over the past 33 years. Congratulations also to the many sponsors for the event and to organizers Kathie Van Doorn, Kathy Gonzales, Damon Johnston and the crew of volunteers.

This past weekend, there were no less than three different charity walks to take part in, with two of them held at Maffeo Sutton Park. On Saturday it was the Nanaimo Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, followed on Sunday by the Kidney Walk for kidney transplantation and organ donation. Then last Sunday, Rotary Bowl track was the site for the Nanaimo Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Now as we head into October, more good causes are requesting people to get out and walk or run. This coming Sunday (Oct. 4) will be the annual CIBC Run For the Cure in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Beban Park will be the location, with registration to begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk/run to get underway at 10 a.m. More details are available on the website

On Oct. 11, the second annual Run/Walk Out Hunger in Nanaimo event will be held at Westwood Lake Park. Proceeds go to assist the local 7-10 Club in providing meals to the needy in our community. Registration will start at 9 a.m. on the Sunday morning at Westwood. The run will start at 10 a.m. More information is available online at

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.