It’s getting to the time of year when many of the big runs kick off, raising funds for various causes and charities. Participants across the province – and the country for some runs – flock to join in with those likeminded souls who are connecting over a cause that is near and dear to their hearts. The extent to which COVID-19 has affected these upcoming runs has yet to be determined, and while many other events throughout the year have been cancelled by the pandemic, groups in charge of these kinds of fundraisers are forging ahead with new and creative ways to get people out to help those in need.
The Kitchener Waterloo Association of Realtors (KWAR) is one group that has taken things in stride and come up with something new. After having to cancel their annual golf tournament because of the pandemic, they came up with an event they call the Realtor Run. This 5K fundraiser is not only the first for the organization, it is also coming with a creative spin to allow for social distancing and the freedom to complete the run over the span of a week.
“I really wanted to kick off this realtor run and be able to still raise funds in support of Habitat for Humanity. Each participant is asked to choose their own route to run their five kilometres. They can run that route within the time period between September 28 and October 4. They can walk it, they can wheelchair it, whatever they decide. But the main goal of this run is to share [and] to connect to the community – not necessarily to race and to be the fastest – but to kind of share the great trails and areas of the region,” said Katrina Snider, events and sponsorship manager.
During that stretch, participants are encouraged to walk, run, or roll 5K in their favourite neighbourhoods rather than one mass run at a certain location. The hope is to connect with the community and raise awareness – and, of course, funds – for the cause.
Snider says she hopes this is the first of many runs. She wants to be able to not only expand the run to include a more competitive side, a 10K, or even a run for kids, but also see the run be adopted across more regions.
The goal is to raise $15,000 and have at least 100 people participate in the run. Snider says it is open to the community and everyone who registers pays a fee, while also having the chance to collect more donations from family and friends.
She also wants people to know that this event is open to everyone, and if they have any concerns about going outside to compete in the event, they can do it in a way that makes them most comfortable.
“We’re actually connected with the rider keeper app, and that app also has an option to be able to kind of track your treadmill runs. I really wanted this to be open to anybody, and to everyone. So, I don’t want people to be hesitant to participate if they don’t want to go outside. If anybody ever does want to participate or they’re not sure how, then I do urge them to reach out to me and then I can work something out with them and try to figure out how to get them to be able to participate in this run,” Snider added.
Despite the ever-looming threat from COVID, Snider says she worked to create an event that was free from problems.
“We were trying to create a COVID-proof event. I really did not want to spend time, money [and] resources on a charity event and then have to cancel it and then be caught in the negative. So, I think the reason why we wanted to launch this run is because it’s a weeklong event, if it’s raining, you can go the next day. Not everybody is actually going to be running from the same start location so social distancing applies,” she added.
Click here to register or donate.
Snider can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.