Runners take part in last year’s Cinnamon Bun Fun Run. This year

Registration already brisk for ninth Cinnamon Bun Fun Run

This year, the family-friendly 5K or 10K run/walk takes place Sunday, Dec. 1 in Ladysmith.

With the words “cinnamon bun” and “fun” in its name, it’s no surprise that the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run has become popular with families from all across Vancouver Island in the past nine years.

This five-kilometre or 10-kilometre run/walk attracts hundreds of people and raises thousands of dollars and pounds of food for the Ladysmith Food Bank.

This year, the event takes place Sunday, Dec. 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Frank Jameson Community Centre.

Bruce Youngren, a member of the Ladysmith Striders running group that organizes the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run, says registration has been brisk this year. Already, 450 people have registered for the event online, and Youngren says they’re coming from all over Vancouver Island.

Online registration will stay open until midnight Friday, Nov. 29. Same-day registration will also take place, beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Frank Jameson Community Centre.

The cost of registration is five items for the Ladysmith Food Bank, and Youngren says people can — and do — also bring cash donations for the food bank.

New this year, participants who register online can drop by the FJCC Saturday, Dec. 30 from 2-6 p.m. to pick up their race bibs and drop off their donations. Youngren thinks this should alleviate some of the lineups on race day.

“It was a response to addressing the huge demand and interest on event day,” he said.

According to Food Banks Canada, 850,000 Canadians access food banks per month, and 36 per cent of food bank utilization across the country benefits children aged 18 and younger.

“There’s a growing need for our communities to sustain and keep those food banks healthy,” said Youngren.

Last year, 492 people participated in the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run and brought in $4,000 in cash donations and 4,000 pounds of food for the Ladysmith Food Bank.

Individuals and businesses from our community and from across Vancouver Island help make this event such a success each year, explained Youngren.

“As one of the organizers, I can say the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run really provides an opportunity to our community to become involved in a practical, fun and active way,” he said. “There’s a community feel, and it’s the surrounding communities as well. People are coming from all over the place. There’s this contribution to our community’s well-being from all over the Island.”

Youngren says one of the things he loves about the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run is seeing all the families that participate and seeing young babies and toddlers in strollers wearing their race bibs at the start line.

“We are just so overwhelmed by the families that attend,” he said. “It just brings such an excitement and appreciation for community involvement. Our little ones are experiencing their first race.”

Volunteers are a big part of the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run’s success each year, and Youngren expects they’ll have more than 30 volunteers this year.

This year will be the ninth Cinnamon Bun Fun Run.

Youngren recalls that 67 people participated in the first one.

“We have a DJ now, but our music was provided at the first event when I pulled up in my Honda Accord and opened all four doors and played Meatloaf and Led Zeppelin,” he laughed. “We used duct tape and rebar to erect the start/finish line. Now it’s way different, but the heart is still the same, the intuition to make good use of our passion for running and walking. Our intention was to give back.”

Youngren wants to thank all the community organizations, volunteers and individuals who support and participate in the Cinnamon Bun Fun Run.

He also thanks race director John Mountain for all his leadership and organization.

“He’s the one who has built this,” he said. “Kim Judson, Bill Adair and myself took it to a certain place, and now it’s in extremely good hands.”

Youngren emphasizes the word “fun” in the event’s name.

This is a predicted time event, so prizes go to those runners and walkers who finish closest to the time they predicted they would finish. After the run/walk, participants get to enjoy cinnamon buns donated by the Old Town Bakery and hot drinks donated by Starbucks, and there are many randomly-drawn door prizes so that everyone has a chance to win.

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