Swangard Stadium, Burnaby
Easy, fun, casual, scenic, family, uplifting
June 3, 2018 – The 22nd Annual Run Up For Down Syndrome took place this weekend, with fundraising efforts going to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. The DSRF’s mission is the empowerment of individuals and families living with Down Syndrome, primarily through access to increased education and enrichment opportunities. This year’s event was the first to take place at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, with the route for both the 1.5 and 5 kilometre events winding through the trail system in Burnaby’s Central Park.
The 5k route crisscrossed through several loops in Central Park, without much incline throughout the race’s duration. Running on the rain-softened dirt paths was very forgiving on the knees, as was the beginning and end on the Swangard Stadium track. As the course wound round the Central Park trails, there were race volunteers ever-present to direct you towards the correct path. It was also easy to find a steady rhythm in the serenity of the park, without any distractions from cars or pedestrians.
Running through the forest was an excellent way to start the way, but unfortunately, the weather was less than ideal. A decent amount of pre-race drizzle compounded the low-teens temperature, making for cold hands and legs, as well as some additional stretching. However, if there was a silver lining to the inclement weather, it was the lovely smell of the damp greenery on the trails, filling everyone’s lungs with rich, earthy air.
Charity runs are renowned for their communal, enthusiastic atmospheres, and Run Up For Down Syndrome was no different. With almost everyone present supporting somebody closely related to them living with Down syndrome, the passion and camaraderie was palpable from the beginning. A large contingent of younger children, fueled by excitement, congregated at the front of the pack to start the race, firing off at an adorably unsustainable pace. Pre- and post-race festivities also helped cultivate a welcoming, charitable atmosphere, with sponsor tents providing people entertainment, food and drinks, and a place to step out of the rain when necessary.
Considering the number of people in attendance, Run Up For Down Syndrome went off without a hitch. The weather didn’t deter the crowd’s energy, which made everyone especially willing participants in being led to the staring line, and during the group warm-up. As was also previously mentioned, race volunteers were helpful and well-positioned to direct all runners through the appropriate course. Occasional difficulties with the PA system occurred because of the wind, but the migrating herds of eager runners acted as an adequate guide post for anyone who couldn’t hear the announcements.