Running a popular pastime these days

Early fall is one of those times of the year when community walks or runs for good causes seem to be most popular.

A lot of people seem to be running these days. And not all of them are politicians!

Early fall is one of those times of the year when community walks or runs for good causes seem to be most popular. Certainly over the past couple of weeks there have been several…

Earlier this month, 226 participants gathered at Westwood Lake to take part in the ninth annual Run For the Mountain fundraiser. Director for the walk/run was Mike Thibodeau, and all proceeds went to the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust’s Mount Benson Wilderness Park. Some of those taking part enjoyed a leisurely walk around the lake, while others raced the six-kilometre circuit in hopes of earning a royal title. Fastest to the finish line was Nic Ascui in 20:11. As the quickest male in the youth (17-and-under) age group, Ascui was crowned as Prince of Westwood. Fastest youth female, and therefore Princess of Westwood, was Madison Heisterman with a time of 25:14. In the adult division, title of King of Westwood went to Shelby Drope who finished in 21:09. Successfully defending her title as Queen of Westwood as fastest adult female was Erin Burrett in a time of 23:47. Winners in the masters division were Wendy Simms in 25:20 and Royd Burkart in 21:34. There was also a team competition, and the fastest group were Dover Bay Secondary runners Ascui, Thomas Oxland, Peter Oxland, Miles Huynh and Josh Bailey.

The next day, 368 people turned out in Bowen Park for the 34th annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research. Attendance was up markedly this year, and congratulations are certainly due to coordinators Kathie Van Doorn, Kathy Gonzales, Damon Johnston, Chris Barfoot, and their crew of over 30 volunteers who made the event a success. The Nanaimo Clippers took part, as did the VIU Mariners women’s basketball team, and the Bastion Running Club helped organize the start and finish line.

Total pledges and donations from the Nanaimo Terry Fox Run were at close to $16,000, amazingly double the amount raised last year. Special mention must go to Jessie Mazzelli, who this year raised over $4,000, and who has brought in $30,000 in the last 33 years of participating. Also to eight-year-old Victoria McCue-White, who raised $5,110 in pledges this year.

Another very worthwhile annual fundraiser is set for this coming Sunday (Oct. 5), when the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation presents the CIBC Run for the Cure. Beban Park will be the location for the Nanamio component of the event, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the actual start time being 10 a.m. Participants will have the option of walking or running a 1km or 5km route. More information is available by phoning 250-740-0588, or on the website

The following Sunday, Oct. 12, fundraising shifts back to Westwood Lake Park for the inaugural Run/Walk Out Hunger. Proceeds raised will go towards helping the Nanaimo 7-10 Club operate, providing free breakfasts and lunches to the needy in our community. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the walk and run getting underway at 10 a.m. Organizers are hoping that the fundraiser will be successful enough to make it an annual event. For more information, the website is

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