On March 18, 303 runners will be heading down Wallace Street, for the inaugural Hope 10K race. Organizer Paul Stock is thrilled with the strong response for the first-time event — and hopes non-participants will join in the race-related fun that the Hope Chamber of Commerce has planned for Memorial Park. Barry Stewart photo

Countdown to inaugural Hope 10 kilometre run

March 18 not just about racing: Korean drummers and games for kids planned

You’ve got to start somewhere.

When Hope Chamber of Commerce member Paul Stock started dreaming of a 10K run for Hope, he didn’t know what kind of response there would be. Last summer, he envisioned perhaps 3,000 runners — but registration has now closed and the number will be 303 total, for the inaugural 5 and 10K runs.

And Stock is just fine with that.

“We decided to close registration two and half weeks early, so we could get the t-shirts and medals ready,” he said Monday. “But the Running Room told us if we had kept it open till two days before the run, we were on pace to reach 500.

“They told us that getting over 300 is excellent for a first year run, though,” he added.

By day, Stock is a financial analyst for Nestlé Waters. By night, he’s all about planning the event on behalf of the chamber of commerce.

“Every night since November, I’ve been working on the run,” he said. Local businesses and service groups have come forward with their support and there are now 33 sponsors, including some from out of town.

“Streetwise Traffic Controllers, from Chilliwack, are bringing 16 to 18 flaggers and all of the signage and they’re doing it for half the regular cost,” said Stock. “And we’ll have Optimum Sport and Health Centre up from Chilliwack. They’ll be donating their time for taping, massage and chiropractic before and after the race.

“They phoned me and offered their services,” said Stock.

“Hope Search and Rescue is going to follow the runners and we’ve hired first-aiders, some local, who will be placed throughout the route. We’ll have walkie-talkies between all the workers and myself,” said Stock.

As well, the timing chips in runners’ bibs will enable organizers to track where each participant is located on the course.

The two runs will kick off Sunday, March 18 at 8 a.m. from Memorial Park, after the opening ceremonies and a pre-race talk by the Running Room on running etiquette.

“Mayor Wilfried Vicktor will be addressing the crowd — and Lloyd Forman, for the chamber,” said Stock. “We’ll have the Scouts, who will be raising the flag and we’ll sing O Canada before the start.”

The Hope Lions will be helping with a family zone in the park that will be open to the public, as will the opening and closing ceremonies. The family zone will include refreshments and games for kids. You may even see Twinkie the Sasquatch, who has been promoting the run.

Stock located the Sasquatch outfit through his contacts in the film industry and he donned the suit for a promotional appearance at the Metrotown mall in Burnaby. He said it was a magnet for people wanting selfies with the hairy beast.

“Afterward, when we were looking for our car in the parkade, one lady dropped her bags from fright,” said Stock, laughing. “Lots of great memories!”

An inflatable arch has been purchased for use as the start and finish line. The mayor will place the commemorative medal on each runner as they finish the race — and the fastest male and the female will each receive $500 in cash.

Stock had attended the Vancouver Sun Run to pick up pointers for the Hope event. There, he saw the Korean drumming group Cheondoong performing. He contacted them and they’ve agreed to bring 19 drummers for a performance in the park.

“Getting those drummers is just amazing,” said Stock, with a jubilant grin.

Runners take note: race packages, including running bibs and a collection of promotional material from other Hope events, will be available for pick-up at the Running Room in Abbotsford on March 16, at Erica Press on March 17, or at the Hope Chamber of Commerce office at 6th and Wallace on March 15-17. Participants need to indicate their preferred pick-up location.

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