Thirteen years ago, about 100 participants ran in the Lloydminster Public School Division’s (LPSD) first ever Fun Run.
On Saturday, over 10 times that number will take part in the 13th edition of the race at Bud Miller All Seasons Park.
“Each school is represented, each school has a running club that prepares them,” said Chad Smith, Grade 4 teacher at College Park School and one of the organizers of the event. “We do a 10-week running program to get them primed for the actual event.”
As has been the case for the last couple of years, the LPSD will once again incorporate colour into the run. Participants can expect to be doused with colour bombs at seven stations set up throughout the five-kilometre run.
Around 800 students and 250 parents are already signed up for the event, with last-minute registration expected to push those numbers even higher. For each person’s efforts, Smith says that every participant will receive a medal after crossing the finish line.
Back in 2003, Smith set up the inaugural Fun Run with his brother and a friend as a means to promote physical activity amongst youth. It’s worked, he says, as the events grows larger each year and has students like fourth-grader Makenzie Kippenhuck eager to run.
“I really like running through the cornstarch,” she said. “I want to do it again.” And with the help of the running club, in which Kippenhuck says she runs one or two kilometres to prepare for the event, the run through Bud Miller is more like a walk in the park.
While Saturday will mark Kippenhuck’s second Fun Run, others have been coming back for years.
“A former student that keeps emailing me back - she’s now in university - but she keeps coming back because she’s had such a good time,” Smith said.
“From year-to-year, you get siblings coming out and you get people coming back. It’s something to look forward to, the kids always know that it’s happening - second week of June.”
To keep up with the physical activity theme, Smith says that “athletic-oriented” prizes such as basketballs and footballs will be up for grabs. A family barbecue will follow the race, which ironically, does not include Smith.
“Sadly enough, I’ve never been able to run because there’s just so much going on in the background. I would love to do it but there’s just too much behind the scenes that needs to be taken care of.”