Having begun in September 2017, and soon taking a break until the end of August, the Smoky River Runners Track and X-Country Run Club, is nearing the end of the first year in operation.
The club practices twice weekly, Tuesdays at Ecole Heritage in Falher and Wednesdays at Ecole Providence in McLennan.
The club invites members from across the Smoky River Region to attend one or both practice sessions, and engage in disciplined training.
The club had an incredibly successful first year, due to the last “Parade of Programs,” the club garnered considerable interest and now has in excess of 50 members.
There are no fees to join the Smoky River Runners, kids just show up for practice, but the club functions as an inclusive team that encourages everyone to participate.
“We just wanted all barriers gone, If a kid wants to play and do the sport they just show up,” says club organizer Michel Phillips.
The club coaches all members to attain their personal best, to strive to outperform their own record rather than competing with fellow members.
Smoky River Runners Club recently issued new uniforms to members who have attended eight or more training sessions.
Any member who attends the club for two months and participates in eight or more practices receives a free uniform.
New kids must first discovering if the club suits them and show some commitment before receiving a uniform.
This also gives McLennan Detachment RCMP members who fundraise and find sponsors to provide the uniforms, the time to raise the necessary funds. A number of local business in the Smoky River region sponsored the recently issue uniforms.
Kids who participate in a full summer, winter, spring or fall season receive free running shoes.
To ensure that coaches are always available for practices, the club has a roster and coach Michelle Phillips and Jolene Sauvageau share club organizing responsibilities.
The coaches are Guy Girard-Lallemand, Nick Fournier, Anita Doktor, Allan Paterson, Cindy Cloutier, Crystal Cartwright and Krista Veitch.
Phillips says the success of Smoky River Runners is due to a collective effort and huge community support from businesses and individuals.
An example of that support is Peace Regional Victims Services members and RCMP members individually donating to provide bottled water for the Smoky River Runners water stations at the Hicks Honey, Honey Fest Run and Walk, scheduled for June 16 at 8am.
If Victims Services are available they will man the water stations and otherwise local high school students have also volunteered to man the stations.
The Honey Fest run will be the clubs final event before taking a break and people should check the club’s Facebook page to learn when practices resume.