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Local runner, Kenyan husband return to St. Clements for Harvest Half-Marathon

Distance runners can test their endurance again this month as the second annual Harvest Half-Marathon returns to St. Clements.

Organized as a fundraiser for the Kenyan Kids Foundation, the event helps support dairy farmers in the Cherangany region of Kenya. It’s also the only Waterloo Running Series race held in Wellesley.

“We’ve got a couple extra things happening this year. The Thursday night we’re having a screening of the Transcend movie and then Friday we’re doing a pasta dinner. And then Saturday is the race day,” Blair McKay said.

More than 400 people ran last year, with three quarters of them completing the half marathon. Runners can choose to do the quarter marathon race instead. Kids can also participate in a half mile fun run. The foundation was founded by McKay, his daughter Tarah Korir and his son-in-law Wesley Korir, who’s from Kenya. Tarah and Wesley both live in Kenya now but will be returning to Wellesley for a visit, and some running, this fall.

Ben Kaplan, editor of the magazine iRun, will be the guest speaker at the pasta dinner this year. Last year’s speaker was marathoner Krista DuChene.

Tarah Korir and her husband Wesley will be back in St. Clements in October, both competing in marathons.[File Photo]
Tarah Korir and her husband Wesley will be back in St. Clements in October, both competing in marathons. [File Photo]
They raised just under $15,000 last year through the race, pasta dinner, and auction.

“We have just under 300 people registered. A lot of people procrastinate so we’re expecting a bunch more to register. I guess it’s like the election call. It’s hard to know how many people are going to register at the last minute,” McKay said.

Tarah and Wesley will return in October. Tarah will be running the Toronto Half-Marathon, while Wesley will be running the Chicago Marathon. Tarah ran her first competitive half-marathon in Prague this spring, finishing in 73 minutes and 39 seconds – in the all-time top-10 for a Canadian female half-marathon  runner.

She’s planning to use that half-marathon as a way to help fundraise for her work in Kenya.

“We’re really trying to work with people in Kenya to improve their lives where they are and frankly there’s a lot more bang for the buck in doing that. It costs a lot of money to bring somebody to Canada,” McKay said.

He continued, “We’ve been really successful at raising funds for our dairy project in Kenya. Our dairy project is supporting probably close to 1,000 different families through milk production.”

Runners can sign up at www.raceroster.com, or buy tickets for the dinner or film screening at www.kenyankidsfoundation.ca. Race kits and chip pickup will be available at Runners’ Choice in Waterloo on Sept. 18 from 5-7:30 p.m., and at the St. Clements Arena on Sept. 19 from 7-8:30 a.m. The pasta dinner is Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs. Tickets are $15 or two for $25.

Transcend, a documentary on Wesley’s rise from poverty in Kenya to winning the 2012 Boston Marathon, will be shown at the Princess Twin Cinema at 7 p.m. on September 17.

The quarter- and half-marathons start at the St. Clements arena on September 19 at 9 a.m. The quarter marathon will start at the halfway point of the half marathon, so runners must be at the arena by 8 a.m. to catch the shuttle there. The kids’ half mile starts at 12:15 p.m. at the arena.

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