SUBMITTED PHOTO Hope’s Team F.I.T. entry in the Vancouver Sun Run had a good boost in numbers from last year. This was the tenth consecutive year of the group taking part in the annual 10-km event.

Hope families flourish at Sun Run

Hope runners kept it up for the tenth year.

The original organizer has moved away — and the school where it all started has been torn down — but Hope’s Team F.I.T. (Families in Training) group had healthy numbers at the April 23 Sun Run in Vancouver.

This was the 10th year for a group of Hope runners and walkers taking part in the event, made special by a starting-line reunion with Pauline Johnson, who organized the club’s first run in 2008.

“One of my favourite parts of this Sun Run was getting to wait in line with Pauline,” said Miranda Cowan. “It was so nice to see her and hear her encouraging words before the race.”

Cowan’s good friend and fellow-runner, Brenda Deschenes said, “Pauline brought a team over from Port Hardy, where she works now. The kids were all under 12 years old and it was their first Sun Run. Pauline started our original group (at C.E. Barry School) and now, has taken it over to the Island.”

The family theme was still running strong in the Hope entry. Kim and Peter Hollmann ran with their four sons, along with Cowan, her husband Jacob and their son Levi. Deschenes brought along her husband, Gilbert and her mother, Mavis Byer. Darin and Lisa Berry and their kids, Cam and Katie took part — as did all but one of the Hamblys, who brought along three more from their extended family.

Not all had been training for the event, which traditionally has had a three-month preparation, starting in January.

“Yvonne (Hambly), Marlo McKay, Kim, Lisa, Miranda and I tried to get out together at least once a week,” said Deschenes.

Conditions weren’t always kind, though. Remember the snow and ice? (And rain.)

“This was by far our most challenging training year, weather wise,” said Miranda. “Some days, we just looped around the same block or two in town because it was a loop that had been plowed. We had to use rubber cleats over our shoes to keep from slipping on the ice.”

Also pushing her training through the bad weather was Hope Secondary School (HSS) teacher, Lenora Poulin, who posted an impressive personal best of 55:25. The school’s quickest staffer was Dave Dunster, at 50:14. Quickets student, Verena Brysch, clocked a 48:07 over the 10-kilometre course. HSS entered 13 students and six staff members, including principal, Rosalee Floyd.

“This year, we registered as Fraser Cascade,” explained Brenda. “There were probably 60 entries from Team F.I.T., HSS and Agassiz Elementary-Secondary. Most stayed overnight, Saturday, but Agassiz took a bus and it left at 6:10, Sunday morning.”

The name of the run is no guarantee good weather — but Brenda figured, “It was about the perfect temperature this year. It was raining when we got up at six but after eight, it didn’t rain at all.”

Poulin will be running in a half-marathon in Vancouver in June and more than a dozen locals will be heading to the five-km Sun Peaks “Foam Fest,” near Kamloops on the June 17 weekend.

You can search through the Sun Run results at sportstats.ca.

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