This year’s Cinnamon Bun Fun Run was record-breaking in every way.
The ninth annual charity run/walk raised $4,400 in cash from participants and two major donations from sponsors LCU Insurance and The United Steelworkers Humanity Fund, as well as 5,200 pounds of food for the Ladysmith Food Bank.
Eight hundred and 49 people pre-registered for the charity run/walk, and 754 people crossed the finish line.
Bruce Youngren, an organizing committee member from the Ladysmith Striders, says this is about 300 more people than last year.
“This year, we had an incredible surge of participants and an incredible surge of sponsor support too,” he said.
Reaching registration capacity did lead to some challenges for the volunteers involved in the run, but Youngren says they rose to the occasion.
“Thanks to our volunteers for that and thanks to the people who saw the challenge and were incredibly understanding of that experience,” he said.
Kate Cram and her staff at the Old Town Bakery met the challenge as well. Originally, they were going to donate 650 cinnamon buns at no cost, but Cram and her bakers ended up working through the night to bake 1,000 cinnamon buns, which they provided at no cost, explained Youngren.
Starbucks was also a huge support, donating $1,500 in cash, donating all the hot drinks for participants and providing employees to serve the drinks.
Jenna Wickham was the overall winner. She predicted she would finish the 10-kilometre run in 45:22, and her actual time was 45:20.49, just 0:01.51 off.
Brianna Bold was second after predicting she would finish the five-kilometre run in 38 minutes and finishing in 38:01.60.
Third place went to Lorrie Baildham, who finished the five-kilometre run in 24:08.19, 0:01.81 off her predicted time of 24:10.
More than 50 draw prizes were given out, including two pairs of running shoes from sponsor Frontrunners Vancouver island.
Still on a high from the success of this year’s event, Youngren says the organizers want to thank the community members who adapt to the run each year.
“All of us organizing committee have to express gratitude to some unsung heroes, the motorists and members of the community who are so kindly, patiently and safely waiting as runners and walkers and families go past in the streets,” he said. “The community is showing a great deal of understanding and support for putting food on people’s tables for Christmas.”
The Cinnamon Bun Fun Run is presented each year by the Ladysmith Striders.
It started in 2004, when the Ladysmith Striders decided to give back to the community and thought that organizing a charity walk/run to immediately follow the Festival of Lights would provide the community with a healthy outdoor family event just before the holiday season and some needed resources to the Ladysmith Food Bank.
To foster family participation, the Ladysmith Striders made the event a fun run exercise by adopting an event timing strategy that involved “predicted finishing time” for participants walking or running a five-kilometre course or running a 10-kilometre course. To reward the finishers, participants were offered hot chocolate and sweet and gooey cinnamon buns — hence the name Cinnamon Bun Fun Run.
Next year will be the 10th anniversary, and Youngren says the community can expect “something very big.”