COVID puts end to Diefenbooker Race

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

WEST CARLETON – One of the community’s longest running annual events and biggest fundraiser, the Diefenbooker Race, has thrown in the towel, knocked out by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Like all events that bring large groups of people together, COVID-19 has been very tough on the spring running and cycling race that started in 1996.

The 24th Diefenbooker Race was cancelled in March 2020 just as the pandemic was getting started.

 The popular running and cycling race was normally held in May just before Ottawa Race Weekend, was a highlight to spring in West Carleton. The last year the event took place in 2019 approximately 850 participants took part and raised $35,000 for literacy programs across West Carleton.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on continuing this event, as might be expected,” the volunteer race committee released in a statement today (Jan. 18). “We cancelled the 2020 and 2021 dates, normally held in early May, and do not expect we can hold it in 2022. Thus, the steering committee believes the Diefenbooker Race has reached the end of its life.”

In the 23 years the race has been held, the event has raised more than $250,000 for the West Carleton library branches and literacy projects in schools across the community and the West Carleton Food Access Centre. The Diefenbooker Race also regularly hosted free walking and running clinics for the community.

“The committee thanks all of those local and regional sponsors, especially our title sponsor, The West Carleton Medical-Dental-Physiotherapy Centre,” the committee said. “And also, the many volunteers, all of whom have returned year after year to make this event successful. And of course, we thank all of those athletes, local as well as from everywhere in the country, who have returned time and time again to support this event. It has been very good for the community, but all good things must end. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of the Carp and area community for their involvement and wish everyone a safe and healthy 2022.”

To see West Carleton Online’s complete coverage over the years, click here.

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