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You Can Play in Moncton

5K fun run supports LGBTQ inclusion in sport

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Aug. 18, 2017

MONCTON, N.B. – This year’s You Can Play 5K event has not even happened yet, and Cheryl MacDonald is already excited about next year.
The inaugural fundraiser for the You Can Play Project, an international organization dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports, will take place in Moncton, N.B. on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Being a first time event, the expected turnout for the event was difficult to gauge.
“Our registration numbers are far lower than I would have liked, but, despite that, everything is ready to go,” said MacDonald, co-chair of the project’s western board.

The You Can Play Project and Canadian Olympic Committee had a combined contingent in last month’s Halifax Pride Parade. The You Can Play 5K will take place in Moncton, N.B. on Sunday, Aug. 20.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl MacDonald

Although based in Edmonton, MacDonald wanted to hold the event in Moncton because it is her hometown and she had contacts there to help set it up.
In the process, she has already received support for the event from another New Brunswick city.
“Saint John asked me if they could hold it there next year,” said MacDonald. “They are already looking for sponsors, people are asking to help, and we’re hoping the next one will be really good.”
You Can Play was launched in 2012 by Calgary Flames general manager Brian Burke, along with marketing executive Brian Kitts and Glenn Witman of GForce Sports. Burke’s son Brendan died in a car accident shortly after coming out as gay in 2009, and You Can Play was founded in his honour as an organization dedicated to ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans.
MacDonald, an academic at the University of Alberta who was studying homophobia in sports, started out as an ambassador for the project as part of her post-doctorate studies, before taking on her current role.
The 5K walk/run on Sunday will take place in Riverside Park, an out-and-back course along the Petitcodiac River.
“It’s pretty flat ground, mostly gravel with a little pavement, and is meant to be a fun run more than anything,” she said.
Eighty per cent of the funds raised from the event will go to the You Can Play Project, while the remaining 20 per cent goes back into Moncton Pride, as a way to give back to the community. The event coincides with Moncton Pride Week, which takes place from Aug. 19-26.
While the goal of the run is to raise money for You Can Play, its benefits will go even further than that, according to MacDonald.
“Just in promoting the event, I think we’re raising awareness, because a lot of people back East don’t know what the You Can Play Project is,” she said. “Just by having the event, we’re having a conversation about what the project is and what it does.”
For more on the You Can Play 5K, visit here .