By Sandy Guthrie

Fresh Air is in its 10th year of training over 185 runners for the Firefighters Ten Mile Road race.

We will have completed 17 weeks of training with the help of 21 volunteer leaders.  People with all different running abilities have been training with us, from very fast experienced runners, to seasoned runners, wanting to better their time on race day.

So many first timers will be running on May 18th. It will be a huge accomplishment for these runners. There will be many tears as they cross the finish line, and no one will finish alone. Most of the leaders will give up running their own race and be pace bunnies for our ten mile training group. They will see that everyone crosses the line with someone.

I started this group 10 years ago with 12 runners and 4 leaders. When it got too big for me to handle, (about 5 years ago), I asked my running friend, Marilee Chase to come on board and help organize this group with me. We have been doing this every year since. It has always taken place at Fresh Air and they have been the support of all this training

On Saturday May 16th at 9:30 am, we be running our last training run. It will be full of hype and excitement as our runners do their last 3 miles before the big race on May 18th.

Gilbert Kiptoo from Kenya will be with us and running with our group. He will speak to our group to get them motivated for the race.

Seven people from our training group have supported seven orphans from Gilbert’s village for over five years now. Did you know that it cost only $250.00 to feed, cloth and send a child to school for a year?

I have sent over 3000 pairs of gently used running shoes, donated from our running community, that Gilbert takes back with him every year . He will give them out to women, children, and elite runners. We have hundreds of shoes that will go with Gilbert this year and for the 2nd year, running shoes will also go up to Sandy Lake reserve. As some runners will be coming down to run the race and need running shoes.

We will be presenting Lynn Zolinski with a cheque from the fundraising we have done over the last 17 weeks to build a school in Kenya in honour of her late daughter, Deanna ONeil, who ran with us. The leaders have made muffins and cookies for the last 17 weeks and we have had shoe draws every month. We will have a bike draw on this last Saturday to raise money for this effort. To date we have built seven classrooms and a kitchen in Musaga, Kenya.