THE ROAD Runners Bike Club Toy Run celebrates its 30th year with its latest run next week but unfortunately it will also be its last.
Only four members remain in the club, which has kept the toy run going for the last four or five years. But it’s time to step aside and see if someone else will take over, says toy run coordinator Jim Braid, who has been doing the run for 25 years.
“I’m the youngest one at 70,” said Braid.
“It’s time to let go and let someone else have a whack at it.”
“It’s been quite rewarding to actually be the coordinator for the length of time I’ve been involved,” he said.
Braid has done it all for the last five or six years but over the time he’s been involved he’s done many things. He had taken it over from Paul Monaghan, an ex-RCMP officer, who retired and moved away, said Braid.
Before he went, Monaghan gave Braid a big ring binder with all the information needed for the toy run, including what’s been done in past years, and if and when someone else takes over, Braid will pass the binder on.
The toy run has grown and grown over the years that he’s been involved, said Braid.
“The community gets right behind us for the toy run,” he said.
A highlight was the year that about half a dozen children rode with the bikers, said Braid.
“Kids that don’t have much of a chance to do things and you put them on the toy run, 10 and 11-year-olds, sitting on the back of a bike in the toy run. You should’ve seen their faces beaming for weeks afterward.”
When the Coast Inn of the West shut down its bar, which was the bike club’s toy run destination, it found a new place at the Northern Motor Inn.
Owner Gail Munson jumped on that and raised a lot of money for the R.E.M. Lee Foundation from silent auctions and raffles, said Braid.
In 2009, the $13,000 raised bought an I-STAT, which has been used to test babies’ blood in the pediatric unit.
The toy run starts in Kitimat at 11:30 a.m., to Mt. Layton Hot Springs for lunch, leaving at 1:30 p.m. for the weigh scales at the four-way stop here where riders join in from Prince Rupert, Hazelton, Smithers and Houston.
At 2 p.m., the bikers continue through Terrace and Thornhill to the Northern Motor Inn where the toys will be presented to the Salvation Army.