Runners come together to race towards a better future for Calgary families

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On Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m., people from across Calgary came together at Eau Claire Market to support vulnerable families living in poverty.

Their mission: to run either one or five kilometres for charity and raise funds for the Salvation Army in doing so.

The event is known as the Salvation Army Santa Shuffle, and takes place in 39 cities across Canada.

At the end of the run, people gathered inside for the awards ceremony, where television personality Darrel Janz presented awards for first, second and third place finishers.

“Every year 70,000 Calgarians are helped by the Salvation Army, 7,000 of them being teens and children,” said Pam Goodyear of the Salvation Army at the awards ceremony.

Also on hand to present awards were professional football players Rob Maver and Anthony Parker of the Calgary Stampeders.

Martin Stitt, vice president for Delta Hotels, supported the event with other management teams. They frequently partner with the Salvation Army, running in their races as well as holding annual luncheons.

“The race was a good opportunity for us to help the Salvation Army raise money,” Stitt said.

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Participants in this year’s Salvation Army Santa Shuffle were able to choose whether to run one kilometre or five, and also raised money for the organization’s various Christmas-centred relief programs.
Photo by: Dayla Brown
“Most of us ran the five (kilometer) race, but some decided to run the one (kilometer). It was a lot of fun, even though some of us are less athletic,” he joked.

The Calgary Police Service also brought a team. Jamie St. Louis, a recruitment trainer for the CPS, said: “Every year the service comes out to this run. We have 33 people from the recruitment class running today.”

Another CPS recruit, Stacey McKinnon, said she believes it’s great being part of the race and “working with our community to support local issues.”

Max Wong won second place in the race. He participated with his group from the University of Calgary. He’s a part of Rotaract, a Rotarty Club-sponsored club that focuses on volunteering opportunities around the city.

“It was great coming out to support this race today,” Wong said.

Alex Burgess, an executive member of Rotaract, said it was a great opportunity for the club to come together and do something beneficial.

“We usually have around 30 people in the group, but we were the ones who really wanted to run,” she laughed.

Two participants, Jennifer Scott and Debbie Cousins, were among those enjoying a meal after the race.

“We’ve done this run a couple of times now,” Scott said, “The scenery is just beautiful in the park. We’ll be out again next year.”

“Yeah, it’s almost habit now,” Cousins laughed.

Initial reports from the Salvation Army newsletter suggest more than $425,000 was raised across the country, with the money going towards various relief programs for the Salvation Army.

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