MARITIME RUNNER
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Wearing red for a reason
in Charlottetown

Annual WR3 supports men and women in uniform

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
April 7, 2017

     CHARLOTTETOWN – There’s a race here on Saturday, April 22 and, yes, it does matter what you wear.
     Participants in the ninth annual Wear Red Road Races will be wearing red to demonstrate support for our men and women in uniform, as well as their families, as they run the half marathon, 10K and 5K races.
     But that’s not the only thing this event is about.
     “Our absolute primary goal is to have an event that is extremely well organized, safe for all participants, be they runners or volunteers, and fun for everybody,” said Leading Seaman Jaime Donaldson, who took over this year as race director. “We know we’ve achieved this goal when people say, ‘What is the date for next year? We want to do this again!’”

Participants start out during the 2015 Wear Red Road Races in Charlottetown. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, April 22.

     The race also serves to raise awareness and funds for the PEI Military Family Resource Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing programs and services to military families in the province.
     Since inception, the Wear Red Road Races (WR3) event has raised almost $20,000 to fund additional military family support programs.
The WR3 has its beginnings in 2008, when a small group of runners were lamenting the lack of a half marathon race in Charlottetown for that time of year, and decided to hold a race the following year. A few months later, they learned of the PEI Military Family Services Centre (MFSC) and selected it as the beneficiary of any race proceeds.
     “Part of the MFSC’s mandate is to promote Wear Red Fridays to demonstrate public support for our men and women in uniform, and their families,” explained Donaldson. “It then became an obvious choice to name our event the Wear Red Road Races.”
     The inaugural WR3 was held on April 4, 2009, and its founding objectives remain valid today: to demonstrate public support for our servicemen and servicewomen; to raise discretionary funding for the work of the PEI Military Family Services Centre (now the PEI Military Family Resource Centre); and to help promote physical fitness in P.E.I.
     “During the first three years of WR3, our thought were often with our men and women serving in Afghanistan,” said Donaldson. “We talked about ways to honour those veterans – especially those who were injured – and we decided to seek a partnership with ParaSport & Recreation PEI, whose mandate is to provide recreation and sport opportunities for Islanders with physical disabilities.”
     The fourth WR3, on April 21, 2012, honoured disabled veterans by inviting athletes with disabilities to enter all events in divisions appropriate to their disabilities, e.g. wheelchair, mobility impaired, and blind/visually impaired. With that it became the first established road race in P.E.I. to welcome those with physical disabilities.
     The 5K and 10K routes are out-and-back, mostly level, along the Charlottetown waterfront and around Victoria Park, starting and ending at HMCS Queen Charlotte. The half marathoners are bused to Pownal Sports Centre, and they run back into Charlottetown along a scenic waterfront route that does include a few challenging hills.
     A $100 cash prize is awarded to anyone who sets a new course record, and $50 to anyone who ties an existing record.
     The RCMP and Charlottetown Police provide escorts and patrols, while military sweep vehicles with paramedics are on hand to ensure safety of participates on all routes. Uniformed volunteers from HMCS Queen Charlotte control traffic at key intersections.
Donaldson said she would like to see 200 register for this year’s event.
     “For the last five years, we have had 185 to 206 participants across all divisions, with registrations from all Maritime Provinces plus Ontario,” she said. “The actual registration numbers tend to be about five per cent higher, the difference attributed to no-shows on race day.”
     For more information on the Wear Red Road Races, visit here .