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New race to support Kenyan agencies

Volunteers, sponsors required for Aug. 2014 event

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A new race coming to Harbour View South will benefit people in Kenya.

The event, which is slated for Aug. 23, 2014, will benefit K.I.D.S. Initiative (Kenya Initiative for Development and Sustainability), a foundation started by East Kildonan resident Cat Ross. The race will feature a half-marathon, 10-km race, and five-km fun run/walk, and will begin and end at Archambault Park, winding its way through Transcona in between.

"We do some community events like highway cleanup and things along those lines. We also have our annual cocktail reception that we hold, but we were looking at a new project, a new initiative that we can generate some more awareness for the organization but then also generate additional funds so we can continue our programming," Ross said. "Since running and walks is such a huge fad in the city right now, we thought it would be a really good opportunity. Being an avid runner, I was excited to get started on that."

Ross said she will attempt to add a bit of zip to the race by having entertainment lining the streets as runners make their way around the loop.

"We will have a Kenyan touch to the walk as well by having local community African drummers and dancers on the course," said Ross, noting there will be other touches to the event announced later on.

K.I.D.S. Initiative board member Geoff Archambault and wife Regan, who are local realtors, will provide the run’s major sponsorship, but they said more sponsors will be required. Geoff is excited for the opportunity to bring a run to the area, as the bulk are held in south or west Winnipeg, or at Kildonan Park. The race will be capped at 500 participants.

"Hopefully that will be a big attraction, that they don’t have to go to U of M for the Manitoba Marathon," Geoff said.

Regan, meanwhile, said the race will be key to bringing the organization to people who may be unfamiliar with it.

"It really brings the awareness right to a community level," Regan said. "It brings it right into their neighbourhood."

K.I.D.S. Initiative works with five community organizations in Kenya as it seeks to help make them self-sustaining — which was accomplished at one particular camp. Ross saw first-hand the turnaround it made in just over a year.

"It was a drastic change," Ross said. "It was almost unrecognizable. There were crops everywhere and actual housing structures built, so they were no longer in small tents.

"The majority of the children in the camp were already attending school."

In addition to sponsors, the run is seeking volunteers such as marshals, people with first aid training, and refreshment station workers. To step up to fill either role, visit www.kidsinitiative.ca or email info@kidsinitiative.ca

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