If fitness goals are on your list for 2018, you can get a head start before the clock strikes midnight.

The 8th annual NYE run beginning at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) will allow you to run anywhere from a 2-kilometre loop to a full marathon. Organizer, Martin Parnell, says he would love to see over 200 runners hit the trails and as long as you can walk you can partake. "So the beauty is come out and at the minimum do one loop, 2 km, if you do that you get your stamp."

Parnell is known as Canada's 'Marathon Man' raising money for many community initiatives as well as benefitting those on an international level. For the past couple of year's, Parnell has been actively supporting Afghanistan women in sports. 

Parnell's goal is to raise over $5000 for 'Free to Run' so Afghan girls can learn how to skate. While you may find that unusual, in Bamyan, cold weather conditions are not uncommon. "Last year they built this ice rink in the town of Bamyan which is at 9000 feet, so weather is very similar to here. So last year the Canadian government built this ice rink, the girls started to skate and this year the government isn't going to chip in, so we're stepping in to ensure a second year of building the rink."

While the physical rink itself just needs to be flooded, most of the funds will be used to bring girls to Bamyan from all over Afghanistan to participate in Sports Week. "It is very cool for them just to have the opportunity. Just today (December 28) I was watching the news and the bombing in Kabo where fifty plus people were killed and it's just a battle zone over there, so to provide some light and hope is something."

Adding to the event, Parnell is excited top Canadian marathoner, Benard Onsare, a born Kenyan currently living in Calgary is running in the event. "He' a super fast runner and has a great chance of making the Olympics in the marathon."

Tables will be set up in SLSFSC, promoting some of Cochrane's non-profit organizations including members from Calgary's chapter of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan who will provide music, dancers, and Afghan tea. Patsy's Place will provide motivation offering hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies.

While you can join the fun at any point a list of start times to run with a like-minded group is below.

  • Marathon- 9:00 am
  • Half Marathon- 12 noon
  • 10 km- 1:30 pm
  • 5 km- 2:15 pm
  • 2 km- 2:40 pm
  • Finish 3:00 pm

Fundraising for the event will run for a couple weeks and you can donate HERE.

Parnell also suggests to stick around and take in other activities at SLSFSC.

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