Every year, the Brooks Rotary Club hosts the Pump It Up Run at Dinosaur Provincial Park. this is always a huge, sell-out event, and unofficially marks the start of race season in our area. Pretty sure this year Mitch Iwaasa - who has been an integral part of the run - ordered the perfect weather! Mid-20's, overcast, and just a skiff of wind. Thanks, Mitch!
It's just amazing to see hundreds (there's a cap of 500 participants, and this event is always full) of runners from all over Alberta and beyond head to the Badlands of Newell County. Serious runners, newbies to the sport and families all share the trail, which consists of a 3, 5, or 10 km run.
I was so happy to see people taking part in their very first 5 km run, like our friends Biftu Abdalla and Justine Kazimir - it was such a thrill to see their faces as they crossed that finish line. My lovely wife, Eusebia, has enjoyed the challenge that the Pump It Up Run offers previously. This year, she was accompanied by our nephew Jono, who might just have become addicted to running. See, he began in the 3 km race, but wanted to run with his aunt in the 5 km. In effect, he ended up with a staggering time for quite literally going the extra mile, and something to brag to his parents about!
Events like this run aren't just about tourism, or competition. There's a spirit that's difficult to put a name to that pervades. All you need are two feet and a heartbeat (and your race number), and you can be part of this community of enthusiasts. No special status card or elite membership is required, and people stop to help those struggling on the trail. Quite often, you'll heart runners being cheered on by complete strangers - plus local radio station celeb Toasty's high-energy announcement of completion at the finish line.
This year, I walked the 3 km with my awesome in-laws and a whole brood of my own kids, nieces, and nephews. We didn't break any land speed records; heck, for the most part, we didn't even break a sweat. But it was such a fun activity to get out and hit the trail.
Dinosaur Provincial Park is no new territory for us, our family is usually out there every week or two for a hike. But no matter how many times you've been to the park, there's always something new to discover. I was surprised that the crocuses were still around as by now, the deer have long consumed the first flower of spring.
If I've convinced you to participate in next year's run, get in contact with the Brooks Rotary Club - a group that's done so many amazing things for our community over the years. Trust me, you won't regret it!