Fueled by a desire to help support clean water initiatives in aboriginal communities in the North and the ministries of the local Anglican parish, about 50 runners (and walkers) ages five to the 70s joined the inaugural country run in Schomberg, Ont., on Oct. 1.
The run, organized by the Anglican parish of Lloydtown, raised $4,000 that will be shared equally between the parish and the Council of the North, a group of dioceses that promote the mission and ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada in Canada’s North.
“We decided to raise money for clean water in the North because we heard that there was a serious issue and we believe it to be an injustice,” says the Rev. Sheilagh Ashworth, rector of the parish, which includes Christ Church in Kettleby, St. Alban’s Church in Nobleton and St. Mary Magdalene’s in Schomberg.
“We live in a very beautiful part of the world and we have access to clean water and believe that all Canadians should have access to clean water,” Ashworth told Anglican Journal.
The parish’s long-term vision is to forge friendships with communities in the North, she adds. “We are fully aware of our ignorance [about the struggles faced by indigenous communities] and we just want to offer our assistance.”
Organizing a run was easy. Schomberg, a town of 2,500 people located northwest of King City, has many runners and a good number of them are parishioners, says Ashworth. (In 2010, the parish had two relay triathlon teams and a racer who joined all three legs to raise money for the work of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.)
The 5K run took runners through Schomberg and into the surrounding hills and farmlands. A 1K fun run preceded the main race. “The course was chosen with care so that we had enough challenge and beauty,” says Ashworth. The race also utilized hi-tech timing gear: participants had a computer chip attached to their running shoe to clock running time.
“[The race] went very smoothly,” says Ashworth, adding that the community-Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike-stepped up to make the event successful, with local businesses offering sponsorships and prizes.