Record turnout of Hope participants at Sun Run

Eighty-seven people from Hope’s Team F.I.T. (Families In Training) took part this year

Jacob Cowan (middle) of Hope’s Team F.I.T. (Families In Training) on the 10 kilometre Sun Run last Sunday. A record 87 people from Hope participated this year.

One thing about a team: you don’t leave your teammates behind. You support those that need your help and if one of them stumbles, you set aside your own goals for the good of the team and stop to help.

“There were a lot of touching moments,” said Kim Hollmann, recalling Hope’s Team F.I.T.’0 experience at last Sunday’s 10-kilometre Sun Run in Vancouver. “Team members were making sure that everyone was having a good time and stepping in, to make sure that teammates were okay.”

Hollmann and fellow C.E. Barry School staff members Pauline Johnson and Jacob Cowan are team leaders for the team, which entered a best-ever 87 participants this year. This was Johnson’s sixth consecutive Sun Run, Hollmann’s fifth and Cowan’s fourth.

“We even had runners choosing to walk along with [learn-to-walk member] Bev Rudance, to cheer her on,” said Hollmann.

Rudance said she had fallen into a very sedentary lifestyle after her husband Mike passed away suddenly, two and a half years ago.

“I had no ‘get up and exercise,’” she said.

“When my friends talked about the Team F.I.T. (Families in Training) and Sun Run/Walk training that was starting this year, I thought that maybe I should join. I also knew that it was going to take a lot of courage and I needed to step out of my comfort zone and leave my insecurities at the door.

“I like to have a purpose and goal,” she added, “and I like to accomplish something. I also knew that if I committed myself to the training, I would follow through to the end.”

Rudance said she feared joining the walking team.

“I knew I was out of shape and I struggle with my weight and anxiety issues. I was afraid to fail and I thought that 10 km is a long way to walk.

“The minute I stepped into the first Team F.I.T. training session, there were smiles, chatter and encouragement,” said Rudance.

“The minute we started to walk, in our first training session, to say my anxiety level was high is an understatement. I was the slowest walker — but I soon learned that no one gets left behind.

“It’s called ‘looping.’ After a certain number of minutes, the front walkers would loop around behind me. This continues however many times we need to do it.

“Wow!” she said. “This was very encouraging and a confidence booster. By the end of the first training session, I was excited to do the next sessions.”

Rudance came to the Sunday group sessions and did her own training during the week, filling out the supplied record book.

“At seven weeks, we did a 5 km run/walk and potluck timed session,” recalled Rudance.

“We had to put on paper what our predicted time would be. I wrote beside my name, ‘Please let it be less than 60 minutes.’”

“I still wasn’t a fast walker but had improved since the first session. When I started the walk this day, my anxiety level was through the roof,” said Rudance.

At each kilometre along the route, the team had posted encouraging signs.

“My favourite sign was , ‘Trust in your training,’” said Rudance. “This has stuck in my head, every time I walk.

“When I got to the finish line of the 5 km, my good friend Lenora Poulin and her daughter Arden were there, saying I was doing so great — and I was under one hour.

“My time was just over 54 minutes. I cried. I released all the anxiety and self-doubt that was inside me.”

Fast forward to Rudance’s Facebook comments, after finishing Sunday’s 10 km route.

“All I can say today is wow! I had the most amazing and best weekend. I have said many times that I have the best friends. As we were all getting ready in the a.m. (with me thinking I am walking alone and totally okay with this — and very anxious), my friends showed up and said they are my cheerleaders and would be walking with me. Yes, I cried!

“Then at each [kilmetre mark], Erin Furness-Wilkins read a note of inspiration from other friends and Team F.I.T. members. Yes, I cried at every [kilometre mark)! Darby Link held my hand for the first 5 km. (Then we got sweaty & sticky, LOL!). Just past the 6 km mark, there is Steve Link, holding a sign that says, ‘The end is near’ and he has a drummer drumming ‘Bev is awesome.’ Yes, I cried. As we neared the end, more friends & team members were running along the side, walk-cheering. Yes, I cried! As I crossed the finish line and heard my name announced, I cheered — and yes, I cried! Amazing day!

“Thank you Darby, Emma, Steve, Jaxson & Erin. You rocked my world. Also, my other besties and Team F.I.T. Thank you for waiting to see me cross the finish. Next 10 km I’ll be doing is in May.”

For all of Hope’s results, including the fastest-ever time by a Hope runner — 45:54 by 14 -year-old Dawson Hollmann — visit www.sportstats.ca/sunRunResults.xhtml?racecode=104089. In the “residence” box, type “Hope.”

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