Local kids are taking their marathon training seriously this year.
Runners in the seventh annual Living Water Resorts Collingwood Half Marathon, 10-kilometre and two-kilometre kids race will be jogging through town on Oct. 5. A portion of each registration plus pledges will go to My Friend’s House this year.
New this year, Mark and Sean Bechtel, co-owners of VO2 Sports Co., have been running a free Kids Learn-to-Run Program weekly for the past month to help young athletes prepare for the kid's race.
“We wanted to do something where [we could teach] the basics of running,” said Mark. “We wanted to establish ourselves a bit, to promote a healthy lifestyle through running.”
“We wanted people to enjoy running in Collingwood, because it’s just so beautiful to run in,” he added.
The program runs on Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. at Jean Vanier Catholic High School. Both kids and parents can train at the same time with coaches that take them through running drills while teaching them the mechanics of running.
Mark said he expected maybe five to 10 kids to show up weekly.
“We’re averaging maybe 20 or 30 kids every week,” said Mark. “It was pretty incredible. A lot of kids that come to our workouts are from young families so it works out perfectly. We want to make running fun for them.”
The program is run by volunteers, teachers, and the Bechtel brothers.
The Collingwood half marathon event is a partner race with the Toronto Marathon, seeing about 600 runners participate every year. The course is calibrated and accredited with Athletics Canada.
The race runs down the Hurontario Street and continues out to the rolling countryside towards the Niagara Escarpment. Entry includes a technical running shirt and participation medal.
The race requires the support of more than 100 volunteer course marshals, bike patrollers, setup/teardown people and water station staff. Since it’s a charity event, up to four hours of time can be counted toward high school volunteer hours.
For more information on the race, to sign up or to donate, click here.