This is the 21st year. Who would have known, all those years ago, that a genial autumn run with friends would turn into a proud and thriving entity? It all began in the fall of 1994, when a group of ladies enjoyed a run amidst colourful Dragon Lake scenery. Lunch was enjoyed by all as they discussed ideas for the following year. In 1995, more women joined the group and a fun awards celebration was held. As word got out, even more ladies joined to make the push to create age categories and varying distances. Imagine the excitement, for the original few, on the year that they actually reached 100 participants.
In 1998, realizing that a delightful walk or jog along the lake shore could generate much enthusiasm and a potential for fund raising, the group sought sponsors and chose to donate the profits to the GR Baker Memorial Hospital Mammography Unit.
That year, a modest $60 was turned over but this small offering seemed to spur on organizers and participants alike.
Participation topped 500 in 2005 and stayed in that range for a few years. In 2009, the Fall Challenge boasted 673 runners and walkers. Since then, you can expect 600 or more ladies to don their runners, water up, tuck in gloves, consider a scarf or toque and head for the Dragon Lake Boat Launch on the first Sunday in October.
Beyond the spectacular participants, you will find an army of volunteers. The organizing committee begins their preparations in the spring by planning a new colour and design for t-shirts and by approaching the ever so generous businesses that support our community. On the day before and the day of the event, another flock of helpers who will shepherd you through registration, man water stations along the route or ride bikes to ensure the well-being of all who partake.
This is celebration year 21 and we are still having fun. This year, we would like to exceed 800 pairs of feet crossing that start line. Come out as a family. Get your co-workers involved. Talk your club or group into joining the excitement. I am going to recruit as many Dragon Lake Paddlers as I can while my grandniece is going to persuade Crooked Leg Ranch ladies to give it a try. We want to celebrate the groups that power our city and hope you will be there to share the energy. Who can you invite to get involved? What about paying for a friend’s entry as a gift, just like Lesley has done for Lesli? Don’t let another year go by without encouraging a girlfriend to go for a walk, enjoy the luncheon and support a cause that ensures all benefits remain in our community.
For more information, visit www.qwfc.wordpress.com where you will find specific details, links and the entry form.
– submitted by Liz-Anne Eyford