The memory of an English teacher lives on through an upcoming fundraiser that combines his two passions — running and reading.
Ted’s Run for Literacy is set for Sun., Oct. 20 at Kildonan Park to raise funds for local running and reading clubs through the national organization Start2Finish.
For the third year running, the fundraiser will honour Ted Swain, a former English teacher at Vincent Massey Collegiate and Wolseley resident. Also an avid runner, Swain died of heart failure in 2009 shortly after his retirement.
Since Swain mentored many new runners, race director Michael Bennett wanted to create an event as a tribute to him. At the same time, he wanted to find a way to connect the Wolseley man’s interests in literacy and fitness.
"Ted was a friend of mine. He became very involved in the running community. He ran a number of clinics out of the Running Room. He was never known as a fast runner, but he was a very steady and dependable runner," Bennett said.
"He was also a high school English teacher with a love of reading. That’s the connection with Start2Finish."
The goal of this weekly after-school club is to eradicate child poverty through education. Within the city, the initiative is offered at William Whyte Community School and Sister MacNamara School, and is also offered at two First Nations schools in Northern Manitoba. All funds raised through Ted’s Run directly support these programs.
Karen Warankie, executive assistant for Start2Finish, explained how the fitness-literacy model helps break the cycle of poverty.
"There’s been a lot of research on what happens in a child’s brain when they’re living in poverty. There are a lot of stressors and things happening in their homes that hinder them from learning," Warankie said.
"Physical activity has been proven to reduce those stressors on the brain. Kids get into a state where they’re able to then sit down and actually begin to learn."
At each club meeting, volunteers encourage physical activity through running and games, followed by a healthy snack. After that, they discuss a word of the day, such as perseverance or determination. Then they read together in large groups, small groups or one-on-one settings.
To date, Ted’s Run has contributed nearly $10,000 to help pay for books, nutritious food and high-quality running shoes for each student involved in the local clubs. This year, the goal is to raise another $6,000 through donations and sponsorships. Bennett also hopes to attract 300 participants to the third-annual fundraiser, up from 235 last year and 135 at the inaugural event.
The registration cost for the 10-kilometre Timex Series run is $30 for adults or $15 for youth. All 10-kilometre participants will be entered to win a $1,100 diamond necklace from Ben Moss Jewellers.
Another option is the two- or four-kilometre fun run or walk. The cost is $5 for children and youth, $10 for adults, $15 for families or $75 for an entire school. The event begins at 10 a.m.
Registration is available at Running Room locations or online at www.runningroom.com
For more information or to volunteer at the run, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tedsrun.com