Annual PACE Race rejuvenated

Dorintosh area resident Bluesette Campbell (right) receives a hug from Linda Warkentin moments after completing a full marathon at this year’s Setting the Pace Race. The event, which served as an important fundraiser for the People Advocating for Children with Exceptionalities (PACE) organization, took place in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park Sept. 12.

Dorintosh area resident Bluesette Campbell (right) receives a hug from Linda Warkentin moments after completing a full marathon at this year’s Setting the Pace Race. The event, which served as an important fundraiser for the People Advocating for Children with Exceptionalities (PACE) organization, took place in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park Sept. 12.

by Phil Ambroziak

It was a change in pace from past years, but one that ultimately turned out to be for the better.

Close to 170 people registered for Saturday’s (Sept. 12) Setting the Pace Race, the annual fundraiser for the People Advocating for Children with Exceptionalities (PACE) organization. More than $14,000 was raised during the event, which was held for the first time in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park.

“In past years, we’d run from Goodsoil to Dorintosh,” explained event founder Bluesette Campbell. “It’s a nice road, but just that – a road. This year, we decided to switch things up a bit in order to keep the race fresh and to keep people interested in coming out in support of our cause.”

Campbell said it took some time to secure the necessary permits, but permission was eventually given for the use of the park. She believes it’s not only a much safer route for participants, but also a more pleasant and inviting location for people to gather before and after the event.

“Before, when the race was done, people were never much for mingling because there would be a lot of little kids and we’d be right on the highway,” she noted. “We kind of outgrew that space while the park offers a location with a family feel to it.”

Campbell did admit there was some initial concern about the possibility of moving the event to the park impacting the visibility of PACE’s efforts to the general public, but this was allayed when a record crowd witnessed Brittaney Greedus be the first to cross the finish line at Greig Lake when she cycled her way through the 21-kilometre course. Participants could walk, run or bike three kilometres, five kilometres, 10 kilometres, a 21-kilometre half-marathon and a 42-kilometre full marathon. This year, with her sister, Piney Hardiman, at her side, Campbell ran her first full marathon.

“When this all started, I was planning to run on my own just to raise money to help get PACE off the ground, but others joined me and now has grown beyond anything I ever imagined it would be,” Campbell said. “It’s become a very emotional event.”

Among those on hand Saturday was Meadow Lake resident Amber Stang who, along with her son, Ben, completed the five-kilometre run.
“This is Ben’s favourite day of the year,” Stang said. “For us, this is a weekend of family and friends.”

A number of the Stangs’ relatives also came from out-of-town to participate in the race, something Amber Stang said made the event even more memorable.

“I also like how the proceeds are all kept here in Meadow Lake, as well as how it gets everyone outside and active,” she added.

Stang also said she loves the change in venue.

“I like how there’s so much space for the kids to play,” she said. “And, we’d always come to the lake after the race anyway, so this is great.”

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