About 5,500 students tore through Heritage Ranch and into the river valley on their way to Bower Ponds during the 41st annual Dawe/St. Pat’s Run Tuesday morning.
“I think it’s awesome. It’s a nice little tradition we have here in Red Deer,” said physical education teacher Michelle Steeves with St. Patrick’s Community School.
Grade 4 to 9 students from Red Deer Public Schools and Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools did a three-km route, and grades 10 to 12 students did a five-km run.
St. Patrick’s school staff organize the starting line, and G.H. Dawe School staff greet the students when they cross the finish line. Staff are also on the trails during the run.
“There are so many teachers that help out with this. It works well when we all work together,” said St. Patrick’s English teacher Krysty Olson.
She said some students are serious runners out to run their fastest. For others, it’s an opportunity just to be active and finish at their own pace.
“It’s a good chance to go out, be outside, be healthy, be with your friends. Whether you jog, whether you walk, it’s just about being outside and being active,” Olson said.
The weather was a mixed bag with periods of high winds and some drizzle during the run.
Alexis Sibbet, Grade 6 student at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School, said there were cool temperatures during previous runs.
“They were cold because the weather wasn’t great, either. But they were fun because you get to see all your friends,” Sibbet said.
As a soccer player and track team member, she said the difficult thing about running are muscle cramps, but the pain doesn’t last.
“You just have to push through it,” said Sibbet who wants to be a long-distance runner.
Grade 6 student Megan Homan, of St. Francis of Assisi, said she prefers biking. Running with friends at the September run makes it fun, but she does feel tired by the time she crosses the finish line.