Since they decided to go virtual with the ninth annual Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run, its popularity has exploded.
On Saturday, more than 1,300 people will participate in the re-imagined run, where individuals are encouraged to get active any way they can.
Whether it is a walk, run, bike or activity in their backyard, there are few limits to how people can participate this year, while practising proper physical distancing, of course.
The event is free this year, and race director Val Jensen said since they announced the new format, the response has been significant, including the long list of registrants and more than $45,000 raised for The Mustard Seed school lunch program.
“Unbelievably proud of our community – coming together and staying strong together,” she said, adding that 40 per cent of people who registered for the race, when offered refunds, decided to donate instead.
“We took a leap of faith and we knew within the first week, it was the right thing to do.”
Jensen explained that while other races were being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Fun Run committee wanted to find a way to push ahead with their event.
It was committee member Bre Fitzpatrick who got the wheels turning, and from there, the idea grew.
“We closed our registration really early because we could see things might not go ahead,” Jensen said.
“(Bre) was the one, when we put our heads together, and I said, ‘you guys, we are not cancelling this. How can we do this? What can we do? How can we be a big event when we come out of this?’
“She said, ‘why don’t we reimagine it.. and we just took it from there.”
The plan for registration day is to hand out 1,500 plants and tote bags at a drive-thru-style event on Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Crossroads Church.
“We’ve got lots of accolades, in terms of moving ahead and doing it quickly,” she said.
On Saturday, participants are encouraged to wear old fun run shirts if they have them. In addition to getting outside on their own, the race crew set up a virtual recording of the course, which they filmed with a GoPro.
Families can also get involved with a number of online classes, including a family dance party, pilates, yoga and other fun workouts, all of which will be hosted on Zoom.
“Hopefully, people will be out in old race shirts, wearing the print-off bibs and being active all over the city. Spread out on trails and fields, just being outside,” she said.
Jansen said it has been awesome to see the response, including having a number of committed participants who are over the age of 85.
“We’re excited. The reason we were able to move forward is the Red Deer Primary Care Network stayed behind us and said, ‘let’s keep going,’” Jensen said.
“We’re not giving up. We want people to be active.”