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Postponed Legacy Run cancelled outright

The fourth annual Legacy Run to End Family Violence is the latest in a list of community events either postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the COVID-19 caused it to be pushed back to the fall, the annual Legacy Run to End Family Violence has been cancelled for 2020. File Photo/Airdrie City View

The fourth annual Legacy Run to End Family Violence is the latest in a list of Airdrie's community events either postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Laurie Jacob-Toews, a member of the event’s organizing committee, the decision to cancel the run is likely not surprising to many people, but is disappointing nevertheless.

“I think we all kind of knew it might end up not going ahead,” she said. “It’s always tough to have to make that final decision.”

Normally a spring event, the Legacy Run was originally scheduled for April 19, but was postponed until Sept. 27 following the onset of the pandemic.

“We were very hopeful that we could make it work at that time, but with the way the current situation is in our community and some of the restrictions that are still in place for everyone’s safety, it just wasn’t going to be able to be the event that we wanted it to be,” Jacob-Toews said.

In deciding to cancel the event, Jacob-Toews said organizers had to prioritize the health and safety of the run’s participants and volunteers.

“Obviously, that was paramount – thinking about, how do we keep everybody safe and how do we make sure no one’s going to be impacted in a negative way from the event,” she said.

Other factors also played into the decision. According to Jacob-Toews, restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather outdoors meant the event could not include a gathering to thank volunteers or a group warm-up for runners, which were both important components.

In addition to being a great community event and a fundraiser for North Rocky View Community Links, Jacob-Toews said raising awareness about family violence is a critical piece of the Legacy Run, which is held in honour of Andrea Conroy, who was killed in 2012 at the age of 33 in an act of domestic violence.

“Our run is really a lot about awareness for family violence,” she said. “We really didn’t feel like we would be able to share that message, because we wouldn’t have the ability to gather people.”

Jacob-Toews said organizers did discuss the possibility of holding the event virtually, but ultimately decided doing so would mean missing out on the awareness aspect of the Legacy Run.

One silver lining, she added, was that organizers held off on things like ordering T-shirts, which made it easier to cancel the event because several costs had not been incurred.

“If we had items ordered and we had things that we’d already paid for, it would have probably been different for us,” she said.

According to Jacob-Toews, nearly 100 runners had already registered for the event before it was cancelled. Those participants were given an option to be refunded, carry over their registration to next year’s run or simply donate it to Community Links. According to Jacob-Toews, slightly less than half decided to apply their registration fee to next year, while around 10 per cent have donated to the organization.

“That’s amazing to us, that people want to support us, because we know it’s tough for everyone this year,” Jacob-Toews said. “As a non-profit, we’re struggling with decreased donations, but families are struggling with job losses and trying to work from home.”

Runners have until the end of August to make a decision.

“The decision to cancel does impact our fundraising,” Jacob-Toews said.

She said Community Links estimated at least $6,000 would be raised through the Legacy Run, which goes towards supporting programming aimed at responding to family violence.

With this year’s event cancelled, Jacob-Toews said organizers will turn their attention to planning the 2021 run. Organizers plan to hold next year’s event April 18, 2021, she added.

Jacob-Toews noted Community Links has seen an increased demand when it comes to supporting victims of family violence during the pandemic. With the run cancelled, she said it is still important to promote awareness about family violence, and said anyone impacted by the issue should reach out for help.

“There are supports available in our community,” she said. “Definitely, just ask and reach out.”

Ben Sherick,
Follow me on Twitter @BenSherick

Ben Sherick

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