Little seven-year-old Mary-Ella of Hawkesbury waited excitedly all week long to be able to run in the Casselman Santa Walk Run event. She had been told that she’d be running with a few hundred other people, and like her, each one would be dressed in a Santa suit. It would be her first run with the Hawkesbury Runners and what better way to get indoctrinated than with 200 other Santas?
Five-year-old Alex, Deejay and Braydon of Hawkesbury and six-year-old Mathis of Blainville, were also waiting with a sense of excitement and nervousness. Deejay and Braydon had not run much before, Let alone 5 kilometres and all the while dressed in Santa suits. They were absolutely buzzing. Talking with them during the week leading up to the race, you would swear they were waiting for Christmas Day!!!
Nine-year-old Chris, Max & Max (both 8), and Tamara, 14, of Hawkesbury, were looking forward to seeing the crowds, seeing the Santas, running fast times and collecting their medals. They weren’t disappointed.
Each child, dressed smartly in their Santa outfits, ran the entire 5-km race. Along the route, there were people encouraging them and they were so proud to finish. They received their medals and got their pictures taken. For some, this was the hardest thing they have ever done in their entire lives. For some, this was the proudest they had ever been.
The Casselman Santa Walk & Run is an annual event organized by the Hawkesbury General Hospital Foundation, that takes place during the Casselman Christmas Festival. This event attracts many participants who will run or walk distances of 3.5 km, 5 km or 10 km in full Santa Suits. Santa suits and finisher medals are included in the registration fee.
The idea behind the run is to promote running and walking as pleasurable and healthy things to do and all profits from this event benefit the HGH Mental Health and Addiction Regional Program that includes three satellite offices in Casselman, Clarence-Rockland and Hawkesbury.
Raising money for the purpose of giving kids the opportunity to run in large organized races gives them an insight into running that they wouldn’t normally get watching TV or playing video games. The kids were able to participate in this particular race thanks to Lana Barnes and Exit Realty of Hawkesbury. Their generous contribution towards the entrance fee for six children was an incredible way to help out because, now, after the race, they have unanimously stated that they want to keep running. There are so many great benefits brought on by running that when a kid catches the running fever, it may very well change their lives for the better.
Hawkesbury Runners is working on Run – Raise – Race in order to get kids running, get them equipped with proper shoes and running attire and get them registered into races in order to leave lasting impressions of what running is all about. Many of the kids come to the runs because they know another kid in the group and they do come on their own so the parental element isn’t what’s driving the interest — it is their peers. It would be great to get the parents involved as well as running really is something a whole family can do.
If you’d like to give running with the Hawkesbury Runners a try, or know a child who could use a little exercise and positive motivation, then be at Le Chenail at 2 John Street in Hawkesbury any Sunday at 10 am. Come a little earlier for coffee and a chance to meet the rest of the running group. You can also find them online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/HawkesburyRunners/.
(This item was submitted by Stephen Sockett.)