Evening walk-run Sept. 30 to support Sarnia’s Noelle’s Gift

Evening walk run Sept 30 to support Sarnias Noelles Gift

Light Up the Night for Noelle, an annual evening walk and run in Sarnia’s Canatara Park in support of a local charity, returns Sept. 30.

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Registrations are still being accepted for the 11th running of the fundraiser for Noelle’s Gift to Children.

The event begins at 6:30 pm in the city park with a 5-km walk and run and a 10-k run, as well as a 2.5-km run for pupils and students that is new this year, said Bryan Cowden, one of the organizers.

“I do want to get more students and kids involved, and get them active and get them running,” Cowden said.

Parents can run along with kids entered in that event, he said.

More than 250 walkers, joggers and runners took part in the event last year and raised about $25,000.

The Sarnia charity, founded in 2013 in memory of elementary school teacher Noelle Paquette, provides students with items ranging from winter clothing, school supplies and glasses, while also supporting breakfast and snack programs in schools across the region.

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Since its inception, Noelle’s Gift has raised nearly $3 million to help local students in need.

Light Up the Night for Nicole is one of several events and fundraisers held regularly for the charity.

Held in the evening, participants in the walk and run wear headlamps and have the option of being “chip timed.” There are also medals for those who finish.

Information on how to sign up for this year’s walk and run can be found at the charity’s website, www.noellesgift.ca.

The new 2.5-km route will be within the park. The longer routes travel into neighboring Point Edward and to the park under the Blue Water Bridge and back.

Also new this year is the date for the walk-run.

“It always was usually the first Saturday in October but with that being Thanksgiving weekend, we’re moving it Sept. 30,” Cowden said.

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“It’s still a Saturday night,” he said. “It just doesn’t interfere with Thanksgiving.”

Cowden said registrations had already reached 100 before the Labor Day weekend and they hope to reach a total of 300.

Volunteers are also being sought for the event, as well as other Noelle’s Gift events. Information on how to be a volunteer can also be found on the website, Cowden said.

While some running events saw numbers drop in the wake of the pandemic, they have recently begun to recover, he said.

“People are getting back into it.”

Light Up the Night for Noelle isn’t a race but it does offer chip timing for participants.

“You’re not racing against other people,” Cowden said. “You’re racing for yourself.”

“A lot of people will set goal times and try to obtain that goal,” he said.

There will be a group warmup before walkers and runners head out on the routes, and swag and snacks at the finish.

“It’s like a celebration of fitness – a celebration of Noelle’s Gift,” Cowden said.

It’s also one of the few evening runs offered in the region, outside of larger centres, he said.

“It’s a unique run for a great cause.”

With files from Tyler Kula

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