After two years of virtual events, the in-person Red Deer Primary Care Network Fun Run returned on Saturday.
The annual event, which was held at Canada 150 Square in the Capstone neighbourhood this year, featured 10K, 5K and 3K run/walk distances, as well as a three-km Dog Jog and short events for toddlers.
“To be here and have the sunshine on our side, with so many people who wanted to come out and celebrate with us – it’s an amazing day,” said race director Bre Fitzpatrick.
“This event is about fitness and movement, and getting people connected to that. We’re also about the heartbeat of our community.”
Since local businesses that helped support the run in the past were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s #LocalSpirit Campaign reinvested sponsors’ donations for prizes into buying gift cards to local restaurants.
The Red Deer PCN Fun Run purchased $4,500 worth of gift cards for 30 eateries, which were given out to participants and volunteers.
Additionally, entry fees for this year’s race will go towards supporting the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.
“There are so many people need some of the services that the Child Advocacy Centre can offer. At the end of the day, we’re here and we want to give them a boost, so they have people who know about them, what they offer and how to help them,” Fitzpatrick said.
The PCN Fun Run, which has traditionally been held on Mother’s Day weekend, began as a women’s event.
“We typically only had women and girls coming out. We cracked that open and said, ‘Let’s get everyone in. We want to have fun for everybody.’ We have all genders included this year,” she said.
This year’s Dog Jog was another fun addition to the event, Fitzpatrick noted.
“Dogs have always been an important part of people’s lives, but they became an exceptionally important part of people’s lives these last two years. We thought we’ve got to spread the love and make sure they can come and play too,” she said.
This is the first year Val Jensen, the founder of the PCN Fun Run, did not serve as the race director. Fitzpatrick said Jensen has been a mentor for her as she began her journey as the new race director.
“Val has always been involved in movement, sport and community. This has always been a pinnacle opportunity for her to share the love of that with the community,” she said.
The Red Deer PCN Fun Run also partnered with the City of Red Deer, which hosted Xplore Sport Day at the same time. Xplore Sport Day featured 30 local sports teams and clubs offering trials, demonstrations and information.
“We’re one day of activity. (Getting involved in sports) will help people stay active the other 364 days of the year,” Fitzpatrick said.