Running with Rhyno: Runners just wanna have chocolate

Chocolate Run in Red Deer raises money for a barrier-free playscape

I stood on Allstones Ridge, raised my arms above my head and shouted I am the Queen of the World.

The breath-taking views were enough to invoke feelings of gratitude and (admittedly) a few tears of joy from this cynical/wisecracking journalist.

Often I take for granted my ability to run, jump and even dance on city streets, trails and mountains. In my everyday life, I am surrounded by able-bodied people so it is easy to forget that life’s playing field was not created equal.

However, this heart-warming story takes aim at that playing field.

Three years ago, Grade 2 students at Mattie McCullough Elementary School walked into the vice principal’s office and declared – “You need to fix our playground so our friend with a wheelchair can play.”

Fast forward to today. The school, city and the Red Deer Rotary Clubs have joined forces to make more playground spaces for people of all abilities in the community a reality.

And next Sunday, runners and walkers will take part in the fourth annual Chocolate Chase, a fun 3K, 5K and 10K run/walk in Red Deer, a fundraiser for the Access for All Barrier-Free Playscape at Mattie McCullough Elementary School. (Full disclosure, the Advocate is a proud sponsor of the run/walk).

Last year I paced my friend Michelle in the 5K run. I don’t usually get out of bed for less than 20K but I was happy to help a running pal in need of a swift kick in the butt. (Don’t get your laces in a knot, I prefer longer distances.)

Unfortunately I will be away this year but I encourage you to take part – whether you walk or run or just cheer on your friends and family. Two new members of the Advocate newsroom team – Mamta and Sean – are participating for the first time. (Part of my running agenda at the paper.) Besides there’s chocolate at the end of the race.

New this year is the Chocolate Chip Meltdown (for children under four) and a 10K race that features one awesome hill that will get your legs moving and heart-racing.

I know there are countless charity races that raise money for worthy causes and it’s impossible to support every single one. This project is dear to my heart because I am a strong advocate for movment and fitness. I think about the many, many benefits that these children and the community will have with a safe and fun playground that allows all children to play to their potential.

Let’s do our part to help remove these barriers.

To find out more about the playscape project visit accessforallreddeer.ca. To register for the run click on “events.”

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Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to crhyno@reddeeradvocate.com

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