Although it springs from a tragedy from a tragedy, the Candace Heitt Memorial Run has inspired many to participate in honour of this young girl.
In its fourth year, organizers are hoping to continue increasing the number of participants.
Keith Wilson, 61, started running in 1995 with the encouragement of doctors and he has developed a passion for it that has kept him running ever since. In fact, Wilson set a goal six years ago to compete in a marathon in every province and territory in Canada, and to date he only has Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec left to complete this goal.
Organizer Donna Boser, mother of Candace, tells me that Wilson has competed in the 21 km event all three years and has won the last two. He beat his time last year by three minutes!
“I love to help to honour this wonderful young girl,” Wilson says. “I have friends who come from Red Deer, Saskatoon, Cut Knife and other places to run and/or compete with me. Even though the Terry Fox Run is the same day, I add an extra 10 km to my 21 km run, so that I can complete both. I had always been part of TF Run and now am committed to being part of this terrific event as well.”
Wilson says he has had a set back.
“I have a bad leg right now and I am really working on getting it in better shape before this event. However, if and only if, it doesn’t allow me to compete as a runner I will be walking this course no matter what.”
He describes the Unity as is challenging but one of the most scenic courses he has run on.
“The Heitt family does an exceptional job of organizing this event and it is very comparable to other events I have participated in.”
The organizers offer a variety of ways of participate. There are 5 km, 10 km and 21 courses and a three-person relay has been added to the lineup. In the relay, the runners each do 7 km of the 21 km course.
The proceeds from this memorial event go towards an annual bursary at the high school in Candace’s memory as well as funding the walking paths at the health centre, and Wilson believes paving will be coming soon on.
Besides the obvious health benefits of taking part in such an event, the camaraderie of participating in a common goal to honour a well known and loved resident is worth taking part in.
Organizers are hoping to top last year’s entries. The event will take place Sept. 16. Contact Donna Boser at 228-2181, or Terra Heitt at 228-2532 for details.