Over 150 people attended the West Nipissing General Hospital Foundation’s 12th annual Run4Health event on Sunday, June 18th. The event took a 3-year hiatus due to COVID-19, and returned with a change of scenery, as it began at the Sturgeon River House Museum, rather than at the hospital. The marathon raised just over $6,500 between sponsors and entry fees, all of which was donated to the Alliance Centre for mental health and addictions services. Previous editions had served to buy equipment for the hospital.
The event’s success was due to the collaboration of volunteers from the municipality, the WNGH, the West Nipissing Community Health Centre (WNCHC) and the museum, as well as many sponsors. “All sponsors were recognized with signage along the run/walk route, with the gold sponsors appearing between the 0 and 2 km mark, the silver between the 2 and 5 km mark, and the bronze along the 5 to 10 km mark,” described Isabelle Spence-Legault, Administrative Assistant to WNGH CEO and President Sue Lebeau. The event had 17 sponsors.
Run4Health attracted teams from many organisations, such as schools and businesses, as well as many individual runners. Some were as old as 75 years, and as young as 6 months, though the latter “runner” was still in a stroller. During the opening speeches, Guy Robichaud, Executive Director of the WNCHC, noted how nice it was to see people of all generations being active. Sue Lebeau and WN municipal councillor Jamie Restoule also made short speeches, the former thanking the sponsors and volunteers and highlighting the benefits of staying active on mental health.
One final step before the runners took their marks was the warmup Zumba session, led by Anne Spencer. The runners spread out in front of the museum and danced along outside to get the blood flowing.
Finally, by roughly 10 am, they were off. The “track” led them up Fort Road to Lalande Road for those running 2km, all the way down Lalande Road to Leblanc Road for those running 5km. For the valiant ones running 10km, they did a loop that took them up Leblanc Road to Bay Street, Smilie Road, and finally down Delorme Road. It took participants until around 12 pm to get back to the Museum, where they were rewarded with music, outdoor games, and food by Sonia’s Patio.
The event was certainly a healthy way to spend a Sunday morning, and was for a good cause too. “Mental health and addictions touches so many lives in our community. We are grateful to all our volunteers and participants for the care and support they have provided to our hospital’s Alliance Centre, to enable us to make a positive difference together,” beamed Sue Lebeau. Lynn Perreault, Program Manager at the Alliance Centre, outlined the importance of their work in offering services for free for anyone 16 years and older. “These funds will be invested right here in West Nipissing and utilized to provide our community with educational and clinical workshops to assist you in bettering your personal wellness,” she stated.