More than 1,600 people participated in the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run earlier this month. Contributed photo

Virtual Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run sees record number of participants

There was initially some uncertainty about how successful the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run was going to be for race director Val Jensen.

The ninth annual run, which is typically attended by more than 1,000 people, was re-imagined as a virtual event this year, due to COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing.

“We made the decision at a time when things were getting locked down pretty tightly. For us, that just meant we need hope, we need to have something, but we didn’t know how it would go at all,” Jensen said, adding there was a tremendous response from the community when registration opened.

READ MORE: Women’s Fun Run is ‘re-imagined’ for May 9

The event, held on the Mother’s Day weekend, had a record number of participants this year, despite moving to a different format.

There were 1,656 people who signed up for the event and $51,000 was raised for The Mustard Seed.

“The last couple of years, we’ve donated between $30,000 and $34,000, so to go to $51,000 was just, ‘Wow.’ These are hard times, too.

“People don’t necessarily have a lot to give. We were so proud of our community and how they came together for the less fortunate and our vulnerable citizens,” said Jensen.

There were various ways people participated in the fun run – some stayed at home and ran on a treadmill, while others biked, walked or ran on trails or around their neighbourhood.

“People were really all over.”

Some local businesses also ran programs individuals could participate in during the fun run.

“It was just about being a little more creative, and that’s what’s happening around our city right now. Families are needing to be a little more creative when it comes to their exercise,” she said.

“Being active needs to be an everyday way of life. We just wanted to put that front and centre: we can still be active.

“People who have had to quarantine inside their house should know there are a lot of classes and different things online, and there’s even more coming up to stretch and get exercise.

“You don’t have to have a fancy treadmill. You can do steps in your landing. There are all kinds of at-home activities now.”

The oldest walkers participating in the event were Nick and Ann Milkovich, 96 and 94, respectively.

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Val Jensen, Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run race director, hands a cheque for $51,000 to Laura Unruh, Mustard Seed community development co-ordinator, while Crystal Shanks, Mustard Seed school lunch program co-ordinator, sits next to food for the school lunch program. Contributed photo

Nick and Ann Milkovich were the oldest participants in the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run earlier this month. Contributed photo

One-year-old Brynn Hedlund was one of the 1,600-plus people who participated in the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run earlier this month. Contributed photo

Debbie Neal was one of the 1,600-plus people who participated in the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run earlier this month. Contributed photo

Laura and Kate Jeans participated in the 2020 Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run earlier this month. Contributed photo

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