We awoke at 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 5, 2016 to a raging rain storm on the shores of Lake Ontario in Port Credit, Canada – site of the 4th annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Strides For Change 5 kilometre walk/run. After a tense hour, the skies settled and the event once again was blessed with perfect weather.
A total of close to 600 participants and volunteers took part in this year’s event. As the co-race director, I am proud to say the day was a phenomenal success. From the race site (along the shores of Lake Ontario in Jack Darling Park) to the military precision of volunteer activity to the race kit (second to none in quality!) to the food, auction and prize tables and, finally to the funds raised to support MADD’s educational programmes, it was 1st rate. The Memorial Wall stood tall as a reminder to EVERYONE the ravages of driving under the influence and the main reason why ALL of us were participating in this difference-making cause!
Many of my dear friends (including fellow Southdown Strider and ALS sufferer, Paulo Branco), neighbours and, yes, even my daughter, Kati, attended and partook in the day’s events. Their presence added to the positive energy of the day.The registration process was handled flawlessly by some of the many selfless volunteers. They arrived at the crack of dawn to make sure everything was in order for the 9:00 a.m. start.
Of course, what would be any run involving the barefoot running coach Jeff without a few of his barefoot running clients. Paula & Rick get their feet activated before the start and then show fantastic form at the 3 kilometre mark. They both finished strong in the 1st wave.A brisk warm-up led by local fitness instructors got everyone fired up with Dawn Regan (COO of MADD) front and centre. The start was on time and organized – you will notice a mix of young, old, shod, barefoot, male, female – a most exciting beginning to a fantastic event!The 1st place male, female & youth under 12 runners all had one thing in common. They ran in perfect coach Jeff’s Squat-Scoot technique of tight, light, compact, forward – a beautiful style of running to behold! What would a coach Jeff monitored run be without at least one future Team Over The Topper (in this case, 2 year old Edison, son of TOTT runners Kimberly and Terry) showing his running prowess? Notice the natural mid-foot running style. It was also fantastic to see 2 of my ultramarathon clients out for the run – neither of whom had EVER done a 5 kilometre race. Richard finished 3rd overall whilst his wife, Barb, finished in the top 35. Amazing, when you think about it!My daughter’s high school history teacher (Emidio), who you read about in an earlier blog post as a finisher of the Around the Bay 30 kilometre race in April of this year (after losing 40 pounds adhering to my programme), finished strong – on his birthday, no less! He is now following my programme to run the Road to Hope marathon in November of this year.So many great stories within a wonderful event that was topped off with the live auction and awards ceremony along with barbequed hot dogs and chicken dogs courtesy of Maple Lodge Farms. Were they ever good!!Of course, catching a few of my running clients post-race with their medals enjoying the festivities is always a thrill for me. In this case team McDadi (sans dad Hatem), team Rasmussen and Hatem McDadi with his youngest are looking happy and relaxed.The end result was a banner fund-raising day for MADD with no end of enjoyment on what turned out to be a perfect June day along the shores of Lake Ontario. Many thanks to all for making the 4th annual MADD SFC walk/run a memorable event. The coach will see all of you again next year.