Participants of the 2011 Salmon Run get ready to run June 26. About 320 people walked or ran in the event

Participants of the 2011 Salmon Run get ready to run June 26. About 320 people walked or ran in the event

Hundreds gather for Salmon Run

This year’s Salmon Run was a hugely successful event says organizer Colleen Austin.

This year’s Salmon Run was a hugely successful event says organizer Colleen Austin.

And she has reason to say so as more than 500 people gathered in the Kitsumkalum community to watch or take part in the run on June 26.

The Salmon Run is in its third year and is a 2 km, 5km or 10 km walk or run on trails that wind through the Kitsumkalum community. Its goal is to promote physical health and community interactions.

The run is an initiative headed up by the ‘Na Aksa Gila Kyew Learning Centre after students wanted to bring their own version of the Vancouver Sun Run closer to home to include family and friends.

“I think the most exciting part about this is the community support, it’s absolutely outstanding,  especially for an event that is still in its very early stages,” Austin said.

There were more than 300 registered participants this year, and they were well supported by family and friends all of whom took part in a salmon barbecue after the run.

Water stations were placed throughout the routes and Terrace Search and Rescue was on hand in ATVs in case anyone needed assistance.

The barbeque of sockeye and spring salmon was primarily caught by two local fishermen specifically for the event. The fish was served with a variety of salads in a meal planned by a former ‘Na Aksa Gila Kyew Learning Centre graduate.

One new addition to the run this year was the introduction of the Salmon Frys.

The Salmon Frys are a group of youth participants who, with the help of the Aboriginal Youth Sport Legacy fund, trained in advance to take part in the run.

The group consisted of children ages five and up who learned to use pedometers, took part in scavenger hunts and cleared the trails of any litter to ensure they were ready for the event.

“To think of children doing 5 km runs or 10 km runs is really encouraging,” Austin said, explaining that in the past running has often been thought of as something geared towards athletes, not the average family.

“We are so thrilled that this is so successful and that we have people involved in physical education who never saw themselves as runners before,” Austin explained.

On the day, the Salmon Frys ran and walked in all three categories, depending on age and ability.

And plans for the annual event are evolving. Austin would eventually like to see the Salmon Run trails become year-round fixtures in Kitsumkalum, equipped with proper lighting and benches for year-round use.

Traditional signs would be posted along the trails to reflect the language and allow people to learn more about the area.

Austin would also like to see other races similar to the Salmon Run take place in other communities so that runners have a chance to attend multiple events.

The first year the Salmon Run took place there were 131 registered participants, this number grew to 243 in 2010 and now has reached about 320 for the 2011 year. Overall winners for the event were Sherrie Hamer from Terrace with a time of 45:59 in the 10 km run, and Kitimat’s Matt Reeve with a time of 37:37 in the 10 km run.

The 5 km event was won by Shauna Smith from Terrace with a time of 23:23 for the ladies and Murray Warner from Terrace won for the men with a time of 21:01.

In the 2 km event Margaret Samson from Kitsumkalum won for the ladies with a time of 22:42 and five-year-old Elijah Lillie  won for the men with a time of 22:41.

The run is organized by volunteers and Austin welcomes anyone who would like to get involved in the 2012 Salmon Run