Fresh Air Fitness' biggest fundraiser of the year is a go, but in a new format.
The Coal Country Run is scheduled for May 14-23 this year. On May 14 the organizers will mark the course for five and 10 kilometres, and from that day, participants can choose their own time to walk or run the preferred distance.
The pandemic-related health measures don't allow for big group gatherings, so the organizers are asking people to share results and photos to create the spirit of the event. Rotary Hall at Woodlawn Regional Park will serve as the start-finish line.
Co-founder of Fresh Air Fitness Peggy Rohatyn said with the new format the organization process looks different as well.
"It's going very well. There's not a lot that we can organize this year. It has to be a virtual run. But we have the medals that we've got for the participants," Rohatyn said.
People can do the fun community challenge at any other location, and cover the distance at their own pace when they choose to. But for those who want to be precise with their race, routes will be marked up.
"The 5K racers will follow all the blue arrows, and the 10K racers will follow all the red ones.," Rohatyn explained.
She asked that people who choose to run or walk along the marked route keep a safe distance from other participants.
Fresh Air Fitness approached the Saskatchewan Health Authority to get permission for more of a traditional event, but they weren't successful.
"We cannot have any kind of gathering. So we'll just do it within that week. And we'd like you to post your results or pictures on the Coal Country Run Facebook group. It would be fun to see how people did. And everybody's going to get a medal this year," Rohatyn said.
She added that they will make sure all participants receive medals. Since the race this year is virtual, people from anywhere can join it. Organizers will ship medals to those who are out of town. And with Estevanites, they'll either drop medals off or people can pick them up at Henders Drugs.
The fee to participate was dropped to $20 this year. There will be no lunch due to restrictions and no T-shirts, so the organizers cut the price, and hope that more people will partake in this fun activity. And it seems that so far the strategy is working.
"It can be a Mother's Day gift, the whole family can go down there and do it. It is a fundraiser and we've had a good response so far," Rohatyn said.
As of the end of April, they already had about 60 people registered. Traditionally the Coal Country Run would see about 120-140 participants, and with a few weeks still left before the event, they hope to see quite a few more runners joining.
"We hope to see a lot of people out there and I hope that they all post pictures and stuff. It should be good. It's going to be fun," Rohatyn said.
All money raised through the event will go towards the needs of the popular, free, volunteer-run outdoor fitness facility located at Woodlawn.
"We have a couple of climbing structures that we want to get in there. We have applied for a couple of grants, but we don't know if we've received them yet. We're hoping to add a tire wall and another sort of ninja-type apparatus, but they're expensive to put up and there's always maintenance that we have to do down there too," Rohatyn said.
People can find the registration form on the Coal Country Run Facebook page, fill it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with an e-transfer to email@example.com. Or they can fill out the registration form and pay at Henders Drugs with cash or cheque.