HOW THE SPORTING LIFE 10K HAS OPENED THE WORLD UP TO CHILDREN WITH CANCER BY ANDREW CHAK It was my first race and I was scared. I’d never run the full distance of a 10K before. But five years ago, I participated in the Sporting Life 10K and overcame the fear of not knowing what my body could do. I ran, walked, ran again, and finished to medals, cheers and bagels. The race was a personal victory for me, but I learned that this race meant so much more. The Sporting Life 10K has raised $12.5-million for Camp Ooch, which runs year-round programs for kids with cancer in Muskoka, The Hospital for Sick Children and at Ooch Downtown. Jean Paul Corbeil, director of marketing for Sporting Life says, “Since the beginning, it has meant the world to us. The idea of children affected by this dreaded disease would have an opportunity to go to a camp where they could receive on-site medical care and enjoy the simple traits of camp is an incredible vision.” Recent economic challenges, however, have put a damper on fundraising efforts says David Hessekiel, president of Cause Marketing Forum. In 2015, fundraising amongst Canada’s 30 largest peer-to-peer fundraising programs, which include many running events, saw an 8.6% year-over-year decline in fundraising revenues. “A very low percentage of participants in these types of races actually fundraise,” says Hessekiel. “Most are there to run, not to fundraise.” Camp Ooch, however, slightly bucks the trend. “With most races, 5% of the participants fundraise; with the Sporting Life 10K, we’ve seen 8%,” says Cory Freedman, race director for the Sporting Life 10K. “Last year, we lowered our registration cap to 23,000 participants and we were able to raise more money with less people.” One of the largest individual running events in Canada, the Sporting Life 10K aspires to be the race that provides the largest net proceeds to charity. Organizers also find ways to introduce Camp Ooch’s children to runners. “Our medals are given out by Ooch campers and their family members as a way of saying thank you,” Freedman says. “Our 10K has become a celebration.”
I QUICKLY LEARNED THAT THIS RACE REPRESENTS A VICTORY OVER SO MUCH MORE.
2016 ISSUE 06