First-ever Aca­dian Fes­ti­val Road Race set for Sept. 2

Fundraiser for Evan­ge­line School play­ground up­grades

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - HOCKEY

When Kath­leen (Gal­lant) Cou­ture of Rich­mond started run­ning about 2 1/2 years ago, it was sim­ply to get in shape so she could keep up with her young grand­daugh­ter.

To­day, Cou­ture runs to keep healthy, and to serve as an ex­am­ple for her chil­dren and grand­child.

As well, she wants to con­trib­ute to the com­mu­nity she grew up in, and more specif­i­cally raise funds for planned up­grades to the Evan­ge­line School play­ground.

That’s why she and her sis­ter-in-law, Jen­nifer (Arse­nault) MacWil­liams of Welling­ton, who have par­tic­i­pated in a com­bined to­tal of about 50 races over the years, came up with the idea of or­ga­niz­ing the first-ever Aca­dian Fes­ti­val Road Race on the morn­ing of Satur­day, Sept. 2.

Th­ese two mem­bers of the Run­ning Room and the P.E.I. Road­run­ners are lit­er­ally invit­ing ev­ery­one to take part. Even if the event is called a race, peo­ple can still walk it or go the dis­tance in a wheel­chair or a stroller.

All par­tic­i­pants will get a par­tic­i­pa­tion medal de­signed specif­i­cally for this event, and the male and fe­male cham­pi­ons in each age cat­e­gory will re­ceive an en­graved ver­sion of the medal.

The two ladies or­ga­nized a ticket raf­fle, which raised $1,000, to cover the cost of the medals. Sev­eral door prizes will also be pre­sented.

To reg­is­ter in per­son, visit the new blue ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing on the Aca­dian Fes­ti­val grounds, which is ac­ces­si­ble from the Can­non­town Road drive­way. Al­ter­na­tively, peo­ple can reg­is­ter via email at­coursea­ca­dien@gmail.com, or by vis­it­ing www.face­book.com/ coursea­ca­dien.

To en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion, vol­un­teers will have a regis­tra­tion ta­ble at the Welling­ton Co-op on Aug. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m., and at the Evan­ge­line Re­cre­ation Cen­tre on Sept. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. Reg­is­tra­tions will also be taken the morn­ing of the race from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

All par­tic­i­pants must sign an of­fi­cial regis­tra­tion form. Those aged un­der 18 years will also need the sig­na­ture of their par­ent or guardian. Pay­ments will be ac­cepted at the ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, or by email money trans­fer.

A num­ber of vol­un­teers are re­quired to make sure the race goes off with­out a hitch. Or­ga­niz­ers, there­fore, in­vite ev­ery­one who is not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the race to lend a hand. All those

in­ter­ested in vol­un­teer­ing sim­ply have to send an email to the pre­vi­ously men­tioned ad­dress.

MacWil­liams, who has been run­ning for six or seven years, notes that if this “com­mu­nity happy event” turns out to be a suc­cess, she and Cou­ture will make it an an­nual race. Each year, the pro­ceeds would be do­nated to a lo­cal wor­thy cause, prob­a­bly al­ways re­lated to chil­dren and youth.

So why in­te­grate this run into the Aca­dian Fes­ti­val sched­ule?

“We wanted to latch onto an event that al­ready ex­ists, that’s al­ready pop­u­lar and that al­ready has a great am­biance to en­cour­age greater par­tic­i­pa­tion,” noted the race di­rec­tors. “We there­fore en­cour­age all par­tic­i­pants to dress up in Aca­dian col­ors to show their cul­tural pride.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The first-ever Aca­dian Fes­ti­val Road Race will raise funds for a ma­jor up­grade to the Evan­ge­line School play­ground. Seen pre­par­ing for the Sept. 2 event are, from left: Young vol­un­teer Abi­gail MacWil­liams; her mother, race co-direc­tor Jen­nifer MacWil­liams; co-direc­tor Kath­leen (Gal­lant) Cou­ture, and her two young close friends, Chloe and Chaz Fraser.

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