The annual KidSport Classic and former Dave Jacobs Run has reached the finish line — this year for the final time.
Director of Community Services for the city Geoff Paynton said declining participation, lost revenue and safety concerns surrounding the race route all played a major role in the decision to cancel this year’s event.
“The KidSport committee decided they weren’t going to organize it and direct their efforts toward other fundraising initiatives,” Paynton said. “It’s been successful [in the past] but ran its course so the group’s decided to move on to other fundraising activities.”
The local KidSport chapter is an organization devoted to fundraising to help underprivileged children take part in sports.
The KidSport committee, together with the city’s Recreation Services Department, had organized the current version of the event for the past five years. Prior to that, the memorial Dave Jacobs Run had been an annual summer tradition for 10 years.
The KidSport Classic consisted of a 10-kilometre walk or run, plus an elementary school relay.
Of particular concern this year was the inability to plan a route using the trail by the CN Railway tracks near South Lakeside Drive as access to the area was no longer being granted.
“They would have had to plan it through the intersection, instead, which would have caused some serious safety concerns,” he said. “But the big thing was the numbers. They’ve been declining every year and the revenue raised has been declining every year so they’re going to focus their volunteer efforts on other things.”
In its absence, Paynton said the city plans to focus on ramping up free, family activities and events throughout the year.
“We’re adding a second Nutrition Run in the fall with Interior Health, we’re putting some time into our Canada Day celebrations and we’re doing free activities throughout the summer like fitness in the park in Boitanio Park,” he said. “We’ve bumped up our themed swims and themed skates, so we’re using our time to put together bigger and better jazzy community activities.”
That said, if a group did come forward wanting to organize a similar-style event, Paynton noted the city would be willing to help with resources surrounding logistical details.
“We’re adding quite a bit this fall and summer,” he said. “Volunteers come and go and things eventually run out of time, then you move onto something bigger and better and the events we’re focusing on are all free, family, community events.”