Kristen Williams and her one-year-old son Jesse were among about 600 people who participated in today’s Historic Half Marathon.
The Langley mother walked in the five-kilometre leg of the fundraising event held in Fort Langley Sunday, and she did it to help the charity of choice – Langley Hospice Society.
“We’re doing the 5K hospice walk today because my uncle was in the Langley Hospice shortly before he passed away last April, so it’s very [important] for our family to be doing this today,” Williams shared with the Langley Advance.
She and Jesse stood on the rim of a crowd of runners socializing and trying to warm up next to a large campfire in the centre of the Fort Langley National Historic Site. Minutes later, they entered the runners chute, and spilled out – like other half-marathon and 10K runners – onto the streets of Fort Langley for a cool and sometimes slippery trek.
A pair of avid runners, Stephanie and Yvonne took for the food. Stephanie, a Vancouver resident, was running the half marathon and admitted she came out for the pancakes, cookies, and hot chocolate afterward.
Yvonne, a Langley woman attempting the five-kilometre run, shook her head in agreement when her friend mentioned hot chocolate.
“Yes, that is the best,” she said.
The brisk winter air was definitely helping invigorate Steve McLay, who just came off a night shift with the Township fire department and headed directly to the Fort – without passing go and without getting any sleep.
“I’m attempting to do the 5K,” he said, moving around the yard inside the fort in an effort to keep warm, awake, and limber.
While he normally runs, he said the overnight snowfall gave him reason for pause about participating in the 11th annual run.
But then, he thought better of it, knowing it was a fundraiser for the ongoing bereavement programs offered free at the Langley Hospice.
“Besides, it’s a fun event, so why I came out for it?” He queried.
Coquitlam twins Luke and Liara Card, both three, loved exploring the historic site with their father Dan and their grandmother, while Mom was out running.
The young pair, however, were going to have their turn, too. At least that was the game plan. They were set to run the kid’s leg of the kids marathon at noon – inside the walls of the fort – provided they hadn’t run themselves out and they were still awake when the time came.
Almost everyone who registered attended the Historic Half Marathon in Fort Langley this morning, despite last night’s snowfall and less than ideal running conditions, said Langley hospice fundraising coordinator Shannon Todd Booth.
The turnout – especially given the weather conditions – was uplifting to Todd Booth – who also participated in the run/walk. The event was postponed a few minutes, while volunteers attempted to clear away some of the ice along the route.
“We have a few who, with the ice, decided they weren’t going to be running,” but almost everyone who registered showed up, she said, “overjoyed” by the attendance.
Admittedly, she said, some were pondering doing more walking than running, like herself, but with the sun shining everyone there was in high spirits and looking forward to the launch.
“We are still awaiting final results from the Langley Hospice Society Fort Langley Historic 5K, 10K, and half marathon, but we have seen more than a couple thousand dollars in donations through registration and pledges,” Todd Booth elaborated Monday morning.
“It was a beautiful day, and despite icy conditions the runners were out in full force,” she said. “Many. including myself. walked some areas where there was black ice, and had to be a bit more careful with footing, etc., especially in the longer distances, and the seasoned runners who were travelling at a faster pace… but overall the energy was positive and folks had a great time.”
A newbie runner, Todd Booth was part of a team fielded by Langley Hospice Society.
The group had a “great day,” she said. “[Volunteer] Dave Turner’s goal was to complete in under an hour and he was thrilled to come in from walking the five-km at 59 minutes 47 seconds, with [another hospice volunteer] Roberta Higgs followed quickly after.”
Volunteer Shawn Siak and Todd Booth came in at 46:12 and 46:10, while Todd Booth’s coworker Wendy Sashikata came in just over 37 minutes.
“We all feel pretty good post run/walk – the skies were blue, we were in great company, and participating in support of a cause we believe in… a fantastic day all around, she said, noting the fire pit inside the Fort was “a lovely gathering spot and aided in keeping folks warm.”
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