Diefenbooker uses race funds to raise literacy opportunities in West Carleton
By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online
KINBURN – Another successful Diefenbooker Race means another successful year of promoting literacy in West Carleton.
The popular running and cycling event is also a popular literacy fundraiser for local schools and the library.
This year was the 22nd anniversary of the West Carleton Medical-Dental Centre and West Physio Diefenbooker Race, but the first year event organizers focused their fundraising on local schools. The race was originally organized as a fundraiser for the Carp library which, at the time, was not a City of Ottawa service.
Diefenbooker committee member and media/marketing lead Kathy Fischer said the committee wanted to focus their fundraising priorities on other worthy literacy-related causes.
“We wanted to spread the funds around,” Fischer said following a $3,910 donation to Stonecrest Public School’s library on June, 13, a portion of the more than $13,000 distributed to the four West Carleton elementary schools.
The race gets its name for its support of literacy and the fact runners actually run through the famous cold war museum’s blast tunnel – a unique feature for a running race. The Diefenbooker Race was created to serve two purposes.
“Way back, when the library was getting on its feet, they were working on ways to fundraise,” Fischer said. “I was a runner back then and we needed another race before the National Capital Race.”
This year the race committee reached out to the area schools. The Diefenbooker Classic held a competition to encourage schools and students to participate in the race, as either a runner or volunteer, and provide a proposal on how they will use the funding. The winning school received a trophy and $2,000 cash based on the largest percentage of its population involved in the race.
The inaugural winner of the school trophy was St. Michael School, Fitzroy with 49 per cent of their student population participating in the race.
Fischer said the first year of the school event is an unmitigated success.
“It’s just the details we have to fine tune, but the idea was great,” she said.
More than 1,000 participated in this year’s race held Saturday, May 5. For race results, click here.
For those with a hankering to take part in next year’s race, but are new to running, fear not. Next March, Diefenbooker volunteers will again offer their 10-week running and walking course. Dayle Mulligan leads the running clinic and Peter Fischer leads the walking club which will get participants ready to walk five kilometres in less than an hour. Visit the Diefenbooker website here for more details.