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Sam Macdonald photo
Participants in the Enerflex MS Walk begin at the starting line in front of the Rec. Centre.
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MS Walk brings in $114,000 at annual walk

May 14, 2013 12:30 pm | Sam Macdonald

This year’s Enerflex MS Walk saw a groundswell of support coming from all corners of the Lakeland, and converging in St. Paul on Saturday. The event saw a strong turnout of around 400 people showing up to walk, and around 50 runners taking part in the Xtreme half marathon.

“It’s by far the smoothest ones we’ve had in a while,” says Mike Vanderhoek, the co-chair of the Lloydminster MS Society. “The weather’s fantastic. We couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

The walk was the sixth of its kind, and the third marathon-style event held in the Lakeland.

Runners doing the 10 km run and people who walked went north when they started, while runners in the half marathon travelled south. Vanderhoek explains that the Lakeland event is the first to host a half-marathon. The event was timed, and the runners of the half-marathon had their times posted online.

“The Lakeland as a whole has gotten behind this in a big way. Fundraising per capita is one of the best,” says Vanderhoek. Fundraising came to an impressive $114,000 this year, in total. One of the most impressive fundraisers was Griffin Purdy, a four-year-old who raised almost $10,000.

“The greatest thing is we’ve got teams all over the place in Cold Lake, Bonnyville, even Abu Dhabi. We have a teacher out there who raised $5,000. There’s always a good story behind the MS Walk,” Vanderhoek adds.

He explains that Alberta in general, has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the country. “It’s difficult not to find someone who doesn’t know someone who has it. It’s for that reason that I think (the MS Society) is an important thing to have in the community,” he says.

Event coordinator Brenda Rosychuk agrees with Vanderhoek, saying the event went smoothly.

“I think we achieved our goal to create awareness this past weekend. There was lots of compassion and family support overall for people with MS.”

Rosychuk mentioned an increasing public awareness of the marathon and half-marathon.

“People out here like to run and it seems like our community is fitness savy. That’s why I think it’s good that the half-marathon and marathon are available now.”

Rosychuk believes the event will continue to grow now that it attracts participants for both the walk and half-marathon.

A lot of work and volunteer hours goes into organizing the MS walk each year and the fundraising event wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community.

“We couldn’t have done it without support from our volunteers and sponsors. It’s really nice to see we have support from all the communities,” says Rosychuk.

Results for the Xtreme Half-Marathon are as follows – first place: Michael Drader (Glendon), second place: Gregory Wright (St. Paul), third place: Alyssa Ramsay (St. Paul), fourth place: Susie Henderson (St. Paul), fifth place: Suzanne Musgrave (Two Hills), sixth place: Katelyne Kulczycki (St. Paul), seventh place: Lannie Houle (St. Paul), eighth place: Mandy Palinka (St. Paul), ninth place: Lucille Townsend (St. Paul), and 10th place: Lucille Townsend (St. Paul).

Results for the 10-Km run are as follows – first place: Leo Gossweiler (Edmonton), second place: James McDonald (Bonnyville), third place: Clayton Stenson (St. Paul), fourth place: Julie Brown (St. Paul), fifth place: Sile Carberry (St. Paul), sixth place: Ryan Hunter (Bonnyville), seventh place: Kevin Christensen (Mallaig), eight place: Kati White (Vermillion), ninth place: Jenna Christensen (Mallaig), and tenth place: Marc Fontaine (St. Paul).

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