Trails between Heritage Ranch and Bower Ponds were packed with students participating in the Dawe Run on Tuesday after a two-year pandemic break.
There were no virtual Dawe Runs during the hiatus, and organizers anticipated about 5,000 Grade 4 to 12 students to run or walk at the 42nd annual event, hosted by St Patrick’s Community School and G.H. Dawe School.
Connor Johnston, organizer and physical education teacher with St. Patrick’s, said the run will be new for a lot of students who normally would have been introduced to the run in Grade 4.
“We haven’t had the run since 2o19. This is our first year back so we’ll see how things shape up,” Johnston said at the starting line in the field at Heritage Ranch before the first heat at 10:30 a.m. for Grade 4 girls.
He said students have been less active during the pandemic and it will be nice to see students moving again at the Dawe Run and taking part in other school activities.
“We’ve got our sports teams back. Things are getting back to normal a little bit.”
Waves of students Red Deer students were scheduled to hit the trails every 15 minutes during the run with the final heat set for 1:30 p.m.
The route for Grade 4 to 9 students was three km, and about four km for high school students.
Johnston said some schools just send their running clubs to the event, while others encourage all their students to take part. Whether they want to treat it as a competitive race, or an opportunity get some exercise by walking, is up to them.
“This is just to get kids out and to be active. That’s our main goal. It promotes physical health and mental health.”
He said the run may spark an interest in running for some students, as well as introduce them to different trails in Red Deer.
“There’s a number of kids at my school who have no idea what the trails are like at Heritage Ranch or Bower Ponds. They just don’t go down there. So this will be an experience for them, or kids who are new to the community, or new to the country.”
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