The Oceanside Running Club Association’s former Oceanside 10K run met its demise in the mid-2000s due to dwindling volunteer labour and low membership. But a new version of the local run/walk is back thanks to mother’s love — and ice cream.
The fifth Oceanside Mother’s Day 10K/5K walk and run toes the starting line this Sunday, May 14, at 10 a.m. near Parksville’s Community Park. Organizers hope it can match or top the turnout of nearly 350 participants in last year’s event, said first-year run co-ordinator Donna de Bellefeuille.
The run is an offshoot of the Oceanside 10K, which was part of the Island Race Series for more than 20 years beginning with its inception in 1983. The race was dropped, de Bellefeuille said, when the small ORCA club was no longer able to manage the logistics and supply the volunteer hours necessary to host hundreds of visiting runners.
But after a hiatus of about five years, some club members began talking about bringing back a local run, and resurrected the Oceanside 10K on a modest scale, using the original scenic route through Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.
“We’ve put it on every year since 2010, but up through 2013 the date always changed as we tried to work around other races and events,” said de Bellefeuille, who has stepped into the run co-ordinator’s role after seven years as a volunteer. “We realized in 2013 we had our most successful turnout yet on Mother’s Day. The next year, we changed the name to the Oceanside Mother’s Day 10K and it’s been run on Mother’s Day ever since.”
It has also become a club fundraiser for the Haven House Society, and donations are accepted during race-day registration and bib pickup the morning of the event.
The Oceanside Mother’s Day 10K has not rejoined the eight-race Island series, which wraps up each year in April. But its success since being restored — and the additional of the shorter, 5K option last year —has made the local run a unique hybrid of competitive race and recreational outing.
“The original run was known for being especially scenic, going through Rathtrevor Park,” said de Bellefeuille. “And we were probably the only race that offered ice cream after.
“We still do that,” she added with a laugh.
In 2014, ORCA re-certified the Rathtrevor course, making it more of a draw for competitive runners. Last year’s addition of the 5K event brought strollers to a separate course that tours the Englishman River Estuary, said de Bellefeuille.
“We always had runners and walkers in the 10K,” she said. “But we had a call-out for families and babies. People said, ‘You’re inviting people to come out on Mother’s Day, why don’t you make it a family event?’
“It also encourages the whole idea of young people participating. A lot of them want to run with mom and dad.”
Sunday’s 10K and 5K run/walk begins at 10 a.m. in the Pioneer Crescent cul-de-sac, a short hike up Corfield Street from the Parksville Curling Club. Limited race-day registration and bib pick-up takes place at the curling club in Community Park, and the club will remain open to provide washrooms and the post-race awards ceremony.
Advance registration is available through Thursday, May 11, for $30 per runner. Day-of-race registration is $40 each.
For more information email de Bellefeuille at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.orcarunning.ca.