From left to right: Karen Melanson, Erin Finnerty and Chris Markevich and the rest of the River Runners are preparing for their major local event of the year: The Miracle Beach 5/10k, which goes Oct. 15. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

‘It’s not you and the other runners, it’s you and the track’

Campbell River River Runners getting ready for annual Miracle Beach 5/10k

For some, the idea of running five kilometres just sounds exhausting.

For others, like some members of the Campbell River’s River Runners, that’s just a thing they do before they really start their day.

River Runners is over 100 members strong. And, to put it simply, they run.

“Running is awesome,” club president Karen Melanson says simply.

Okay, well, what’s so awesome about it? It sort of just sounds exhausting.

“It’s the endorphins,” says Chris Markevich, who also sits on the board of the River Runners and created their website. “It’s hard to explain if you’ve never run, but it’s also just a great excuse to get outside, to be part of a group of like-minded people, or just improve your health and fitness.”

“It’s a great way to see a place, too,” agrees Erin Finnerty, secretary of the club, adding she knows a ton of people who bring their shoes with them when they travel, because they know going for a run is a great way to see things you’d never see in a car, for example.

“That’s how I discovered this city,” agrees Markevich. “By running it and taking my dog out there exploring.”

And the club is always up for welcoming newcomers into their ranks. There’s no reason to be intimidated by the fact that you haven’t run before, you can’t run for long distances, you’re not fast – whatever is keeping you from getting out there.

“It’s different for everybody,” Finnerty says. “The coolest thing about our club is that we have everyone from very beginners right through to elite runners. We have people who run once a week to people who run 80ks or 100ks.”

“I always remind people that it’s not you and the other runners, it’s you and the track,” agrees Melanson. “Just get out there and run the track. Don’t try to keep up with the fastest person, because that’s not what it’s about.”

“That’s the hardest part,” Markevich says. “Getting out there and wrapping your head around it. Once you’re out there and you’ve started your run, the hard part’s over. The hard part is actually getting out there and getting over the whole, ‘that sounds exhausting,’ aspect. But it doesn’t matter if your run takes you half an hour or two hours, as soon as you’re done, you feel better than you did before doing it.”

Right now the River Runners are gearing up for the annual Miracle Beach 5/10k, which happens Oct. 15, starting at 10 a.m. (9:30 a.m. for walkers) at the main parking lot.

“Right now we’re doing a running clinic that runs for five weeks up until the Miracle Beach 5/10k to get beginning people running or get people who have fallen off their running to get back into it and improve their running with the end goal being the completion of the Miracle Beach event,” says Melanson.

This year marks the 28th running of the event, which Melanson says is much more than just a starting-line-to-finish-line run.

“I mean, yeah, people come out and run a 5 or 10k, but there is also food at the end and prizes and it’s a really family-friendly atmosphere,” Melanson says. “I think people really look forward to it.”

There’s also a kids’ 1km race after the main event, which is a highlight every year.

For more information on the club, find them at river-runners.ca or find them on Facebook. An annual membership is only $20 and admission into the Miracle Beach race is only $25 for adults until the Friday before the race ($35 on the day). A family of up to four people from the same household people can all register for only $45 ($65 on the day of the race).

“We keep it very reasonable,” Finnerty says. “If you want to bring your family – say you want to do a race even just down in Victoria, and you have travel cost and you need a hotel, and whatnot – it can get extremely expensive, but for $45 for the whole family to come do this one that’s right here, it’s great.”

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