It took Oceanside Running Club Association president Paul Watson slighly more than two hours to complete the 21.2-kilometre distance he embarked on Saturday morning (Aug. 14) with daughter Lauren by his side.
They started the half-marathon challenge at Serious Coffee in Parksville, on a course that was laid out by long-standing ORCA member Heather Beatty, and one that has been ran by several other members.
Family, friends and fellow ORCA members cheered and congratulated them.
“That made us feel like were in a true race environment,” said Watson, who had hoped to run this distance with his daughter at the Scotia Bank Half Marathon in April, cancelled due to COVID-19.
Watson said achieving the challenge was special for him as he was able to have Lauren run along with him, for a good cause. They raised funds for local charities, the Haven Society and local food bank, which lost much-needed money due to the cancellation of the ORCA Mother’s Day 5k and 10k run last May.
Watson was inspired by ORCA runner Mary Beil who raised $1,300 in her run last June. He said combining that amount he generated, they’ve raised $3,145 that will be allocated between Haven Society and the food bank.
“Donations are still welcome,” said Watson. “One of our goals was to have our message reach out to as many people as possible and as far across this country we could send it.”
Jill Davies, one of the club’s most avid and dedicated runners, is planning to do a similar fundraiser for Thanksgiving. Davies, in her mid-70s, suffered a running accident last May but is not allowing it to keep her from running. She is on the mend and is rapidly hitting her stride. She said it’s going to be her comeback challenge.
Davies plans to run 10 kilometres and raised funds for Forward House and the Mid Island Distance Running Club.
“Thanksgiving seems an appropriate time to be thankful for regaining my ability to run,” Davies said. “I’m getting there. I also thankful for my amazing family, friends and for my ORCA family for all their support and encouragement through the challenges of this year.”