THERE’S nothing quite like pounding across the pavement with thousands of runners amidst a massive crowd.
“It’s inspiring,” said Birgitte Bartlett, one of 43 Terrace runners in the Vancouver Sun Fun Run April 23.
“As far as you can see with your eyes, just wall to wall people,” she said, describing the scene of the 40,000-person run.
Not only did the race inspire her own running, but she uses it as incentive to stimulate others into running, including her grandchildren.
She and her husband Ron Bartlett took three grandchildren to the run this year, and have taken grandchildren for the last four years.
“It was my incentive to get them to run,” said Birgitte, acknowledging that many of her grandchildren were already into running. She hoped that it would still encourage them in that healthy activity.
Birgitte signed up for her first Sun Run in 2009, captivated after seeing a group of all ages and fitness levels training outside for the run.
“If they can do it I can do it,” she said of her thoughts seeing them train.
The group was part of the Aboriginal RunWalk program run out of the Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo School in Kitsumkalum. It’s a 13-week training program aimed at equipping aboriginal people to run the 10K Sun Run.
Then after being inspired by the massive crowds at the run, she was became a coach and organizer for the Aboriginal RunWalk program herself. She’s done that nearly every year since, although some years there’s been a lack of interest from people.
This year the Aboriginal RunWalk team included Birgitte and Ron and their three grandchildren, Markus and Daniel Peterson from Terrace and Araya Bartlett from Prince Rupert.
A fourth grandchild, Brittany Peden, ran with a track and field team from Caledonia Secondary and Skeena Middle School.
Birgitte claimed second place in the age 65-69 ladies division, clocking a time of 53:57 in 10K, an average pace of 5:24 per kilometre, and said she felt thrilled.
Her husband Ron was also pleased, and said he enjoyed running with family.
“It made me proud as a grandfather to run with my grandchildren,” he said.
Granddaughter Araya Bartlett said it was an amazing experience running with her family and with so many others.
“It was very inspiring to see that many runners and fit and healthy people around me,” Araya said, adding that this was her first race of 10K.
Training for a purpose really helped her in her training to not give up, she said.
“With the amount of people attending (the sun run), it really helped to motivate me and keep me going.”
She says she plans to continue to train and has already set a new goal with a few friends.
“My next goal is to be able to run the Victoria half marathon in October,” she said.