After a cancellation in 2020, The I Love Regina Run is back.
The event is being hosted by the not-for-profit organization RunRegina in partnership with the City of Regina and the Mayor’s Office. The run is meant to encourage people to get active while also celebrating the city of Regina and its vibrant running community.
People of all ages and levels of experience are welcome to participate. Runners will pick their own races and can submit their times.
“The I love Regina Run is a cool one because it’s something that helps us celebrate our community,” says Shawn Weimer, RunRegina’s executive director. “It’s an event that anybody can be part of. It’s not something designed [only] for those who consider themselves elite level runners.”
Weimer says this year’s race serves as a re-introduction since the event was supposed to re-launch last year. But its origins go back even further than that. “It’s something that started in the city probably close to a dozen years ago,” Weimer said. “It goes back to Mayor Pat Fiacco, he used to have the event in the city and then it disappeared for a number of years. It took on a new kind of version under the past mayor, Mayor Fougere. And it was the ‘Mayor’s Run/Walk For Fitness’.”
The big running season is here.
Let’s run! 🏃 pic.twitter.com/PjdUFKwofL
— Brett Estey (@Brett_Estey) April 2, 2021
This year, the event is back and it will be held in partnership with the City of Regina and the Mayor’s office like it has been in the past.
Pat Hanley is an avid runner and running instructor. She also helps organize running events like the I Love Regina Run. She says that the COVID-19 pandemic has made organizing the race somewhat difficult.
“Certainly with any event when you’re organizing in a time of pandemic, you don’t have the beauty of gathering people together,” Hanley said. “And so you’re trying to kind of share the meaning behind the run with participants in a virtual way. Which is perhaps a bit challenging.”
Hanley herself has participated in the event “probably six or seven times now” she estimates.
While organizing races might be more difficult than usual during the pandemic, training for one may present some unique opportunities.
“You know I think that the focus when we were first hit with the pandemic and throughout last year the focus was about training in your neighborhood versus kind of gathering in larger training groups and getting ready for races that way. And I actually think that that has been a real plus because it’s given people the opportunity to perhaps discover things in their neighbourhood that they wouldn’t necessarily walk by or run by on a regular basis compared to going down to a location like Wascana Park.”
As seasoned runner, Hanley has seen how Regina’s running community has changed and become more inclusive over the years.
“ In general, breaking into that community you would have people that had a high level of ability,” she said. “You did begin to find and you certainly did see that the running community has grown significantly over the last number of years. And it really has attracted many people from different walks of life.”
She’s taught doctors, lawyers, frontline workers, retail workers, politicians and caregivers. “The objective is you all have one thing in common,” Hanley said. “And I think that’s the beauty of this sport is that it doesn’t discriminate.”