New runners looking for a achievable goal this year can train for the 10k and 5K Mother’s Day Race that is hosted by the Oceanside Running Club Association. You don’t have to be an elite runner to take part. It is open to all ages, sizes and ability. — JR Rardon photo

You don’t have to be built like a greyhound to join ORCA

Club focuses on running for fun and good camaraderie

The Oceanside Running Club Association is a diverse group of people who love to run for the fun of it, as well as for good health and friendship.

For those whose resolution is to get in good physical shape this year, ORCA believes it might be what residents need to see their fitness goals through.

ORCA welcomes all levels of runners, even those who have not tried the sport at all, and advises people not to be scared to join. It doesn’t matter if they’re young or old, big or small, slow or fast, Jill Davies said, the club offers programs that are geared to serve everyone.

“We believe, based on snippets of feedback, that there are lots of potential members out there who don’t join because they think you have to be built like a greyhound, super fit and super fast,” said Davies. “Not true. We come in all sorts of shape, sizes, ages and ability. Most of us just want to have fun, find new runs and enjoy the company of like minded people.”

ORCA was founded 20 years ago. From its humble beginning, the club has grown in the last two decades and has over 160 members, runners and walkers, from Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, Nanoose Bay, Lantzville and other outlying areas.

It now offers a variety of programs, such as the Learn to Run clinic. It is scheduled to start on Feb. 7 and will be held at various venues every Wednesday evening at around 6 p.m. The clinic is carefully structured and designed for those who want to get fit by learning or re-learning healthy running skills, at a personalised pace in a friendly group. Davies said no one is left behind and participants are not placed in a stressful or uncomfortable situation.

The program is led Doug Brown, clinic founder Rod Bailey and Maureen Forscutt, who is a graduate from the 2016 Learn to Run Clinic. For more information, contact Brown via email at dougb2016@telus.net or call 250-248-8342.

Every Saturday, members also assemble at various locations for a great opportunity to explore the Parksville Qualicum Beach area. The group breaks naturally into different pace groups and then meets afterwards at a nearby coffee shop for refreshments. There are a variety of distances to choose from, or participants can personalize their run to meet their needs each week.

For those who love to run trails and are not afraid to get muddied up, there is always an easy-paced Saturday trail run.

For those new runners seeking an achievable goal this coming new year, the club organises an annual 10K and 5K Mother’s Day race that is certified by BC Athletics. It is a scenic course that winds along the Parksville oceanfront and through the trails at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. Participants can run it at their own pace.

ORCA has a comprehensive club website for more into, at www.orcarunning.ca, and active communication through Facekook at www.facebook.com/groups/teamorca.

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