Participants set off on the SportMed Run/Walk from Port Hardy Secondary School last week.

Participants set off on the SportMed Run/Walk from Port Hardy Secondary School last week.

Unity in the community

Close to one hundred take part in Run/Walk in Port Hardy.

PORT HARDY—North Islanders stepped out for their health as Port Hardy hosted its inaugural SportMed Aboriginal Run/Walk.

Organizer Stephanie Nelson, connections worker at PHSS was “completely ecstatic with the turnout” of 94 participants who came to walk, run and bike the 5 or 10 km course starting at the high school.

Nelson, an avid dragon boater and former Triathlon Club member, received the invitation from SportMed and took part in a 13 week leadership and training course to prepare for the event.

Participants in the province-wide program then traditionally take part in Vancouver’s Sun Run, but Nelson organized an event for closer to home.

“What a great way to promote positive change,” said Nelson of the program. Through encouragement, support and raising awareness, the program promotes health-conscious lifestyle changes as a method for improving quality of life.

Nelson returned to Port Hardy after her training and put what she had learned into action, training with the three local bands to encourage members to get active.

And her hands-on and holistic approach paid dividends as the high school track was swarmed with participants for the event.

“The youngest we had was a four-year-old,” said Nelson. “He was an absolute inspiration to the runners.”

After the run the participants were treated to a free pasta dinner in the high school. Nelson noted that people had come from Port McNeill and Alert Bay to join with Port Hardy locals for the event.

Nelson hinted at the possibility of the event becoming an annual fixture on the calendar and paid tribute to all those who assisted in making the event a success, including PHSS administrators and staff, SportMed, donors and the volunteers.

“It was really great to see the unity in the community,” she said.