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New walk/run celebrates Fort Macleod’s strengths

A new event promotes active living while at the same time celebrating Fort Macleod’s strengths.
The 2013 Willow Creek Wilderness Walk/Run is Saturday, May 25.
Promoted as an event for all ages and fitness levels, the event includes five- and 10-kilometre routes as well as a half marathon.
“Fort Macleod has a lot of strengths,” organizer Stasha Donahue said. “My sense as a long-time community member is there is a feeling of apathy because of some of the recent events.”
Donahue pointed to the government’s decision to cancel the $122-million Alberta Public Security and Law Enforcement Training Centre project, which would have created 100 jobs and brought 1,350 recruits to Fort Macleod every year.
Donahue also cited Lethbridge College’s decision to close the satellite campus in Fort Macleod, as well as some prominent people moving away from the town.
“It’s too bad that we’ve had these losses but there are always thing we do have and we ought to celebrate those,” Donahue said. “It’s a good, overall life philosophy for a community.”
Planning for the event started quite innocently.
“We’ve got quite a core of walkers and runners in Fort Macleod,” Donahue said.
Those walkers and runners travel to other communities for events, and got talking about hosting one in Fort Macleod.
Their discussions led to planning something that has meaning beyond a walk and run.
“What if it wasn’t just about the run, but it was about really engaging community groups and volunteers so we can celebrate what we do have in Fort Macleod,” Donahue said. “It just sort of went from there.”
Organizers, most of whom are involved in local groups and organizations, will welcome participation from other clubs and groups.
The event is being promoted as an entry level walk and run, in order to make it appealling to a vast number of Fort Macleod residents.
“If you want to walk five kilometres that’s fine,” Donahue said. “It’s more about getting people to participate and be physically active, get to know your neighbours and community, and enjoy that river valley park.”
There will be a large clock stationed at the finish line, so people can time themselves but there will not be electronic chips used to time athletes in other runs and walks.
“If you’re looking for something competitive don’t come,” Donahue said with a laugh.
The event is stressing participation, rather than competition.
Since it is a new event organizers aren’t sure how many people will take part, but registration will be capped at 250 walkers and runners to keep things manageable.
The $25 registration fee includes a T-shirt being designed by Fort Macleod artist Trish Hoskin.
There will be a post-race brunch for participants and volunteers.
“We’re not planning to make money on this,” Donahue said. “We’ll allocate part of the proceeds to a different community group each year.”
This year, any money raised will be donated to Fort Macleod Allied Arts.
“I know that’s kind of a funny linkage because you usually don’t have Allied Arts and runners working together, but that’s the whole point,” Donahue said. “Getting groups to work together.”
The five-kilometre route is to start at 10 a.m. in the field west of the water treatment plant with participants crossing Mackenzie Bridge to the gate of the Girl Guide camp and back.
The 10-kilometre route begins at 9 a.m. at the same point and heads across the bridge into River Valley Wilderness Park and back.
The half marathon starts at 8 a.m. west of the water treatment plant, crosses the Mackenzie bridge and continues along Highway 811 to John Zoeteman Park and then back to town.
“There sure is a lot of interest,” Donahue said.
To register send a cheque for $25 made out to Willow Creek Wilderness Walk/Run to P.O. Box 1364, Fort Macleod, T0L 0Z0.
To volunteer or donate, contact Stasha Donahue at 403-308-0410 or danu1@platinum.ca.

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