Sun Run: The five teams of the Education Charity range from Ontario to Kenya

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Shawn Conner KEEF Volunteer Board President Alinda Ware, pictured in her 1995 Sun Run t-shirt, is part of a team on Vancouver Island participating in this year's Virtual Sun Run.  For Shawn Conner story. KEEF Volunteer Board President Alinda Ware, pictured in her 1995 Sun Run t-shirt, is part of a team on Vancouver Island participating in this year’s Virtual Sun Run. For Shawn Conner story. jpg

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Teams are an integral part of the Sun Run – for motivation, community spirit and fundraising, and raising awareness of issues and organizations. This year, the Sun Run is also picking up teams from far away locations thanks to its virtuality.

For the Vancouver Sun Run Virtual Race 2021, one charity alone put together five teams: three in BC, one in Ontario, and one in Kenya.

“This was the silver lining in the Sun Run that had to go virtual,” says Shelagh Armor-Godbolt, a volunteer with the charity KEEF (Kenya Education Endowment Fund) in BC.

“For the past three years we have had a board member who has run for us and we have fundraised because of their efforts, and a few other people who did this one time. When I saw it go virtual, I realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to involve a lot more people. “

The formation of the teams was as easy as sending a message via WhatsApp. “We have supporters all over the country and we have our sister organization in Kakamega in western Kenya with whom we work very closely. And we have an alumni association of students sponsored by KEEF, secondary and post-secondary, who were also available to us. “

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The Kenyan team is 12 and the Willow Wanderers from North Van have 28. A Vancouver Island team has 11 and one from Rossland has eight. The Ontario team has 12. There are also six individual runners. A total of 77 runners take part to raise funds for KEEF.

The money raised will be used to finance life skills workshops for students in Kenya.

“We’re renting a school after the conditions are up so the students can have shelter and eat,” says Armor-Godbolt. “The workshops include first aid and enforcement training and entrepreneurship, things to support them when they enter the world of work after high school or to help them when they can go to post-secondary school. Many of our graduates do very well on the national exams, and their sponsors continue to support them as they go to post-secondary school. “

In Rossland, Brenda Trenholme leads a KEEF team, Brenda’s Run. The team members are spread across the cities in British Columbia, one member in Ontario.

The former doctor, a long-distance cyclist and runner, has traveled from Cairo to Cape Town and Beijing to Istanbul for charity, giving slide shows of her trips and raising around $ 30,000 each time.

For the Sun Run Virtual Race, Trenholme formed her team from people she knows from the fields of cross-country skiing, cycling and running as well as former colleagues.

“Some of us will do it together, socially aloof, but most of us will do it independently,” she says. Due to a hip injury, she will go cross-country skiing or cycle the 10km run.

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“Because we live in so different places, it is important for each of us to do our own thing and to make our commitment known to our own circle of friends in order to get as many people as possible to donate. It’s more about participation. I don’t think anyone plans to do the 10km. “

Trenholme’s sister Janice formed a team on Vancouver Island that includes Comox-based Alinda Ware, president of the KEEF volunteer committee. Janice Trenholme told North Van entrepreneur Brent Martin, a long-time KEEF sponsor, about her participation and asked if he would like to organize a team as well. “I said,” Yeah, why not? “, He says.

His first recruits included his daughter Emily and her boyfriend. But the deadline for team registration was getting closer and they needed at least eight. So Emily Martin contacted a few people and within a week the Willow Wanderers (named after the family dog) had grown to 28 members, all friends and family, mostly on the north coast.

“Everyone trains individually,” says Emily. “For the day of our run, whoever wants to come out and run it together will follow the COVID logs.”

“Something that inspires us to make a difference is this foundation that we created,” says Brent. The Martin Family Empowerment Foundation focuses its efforts on local outdoor education for children.

“But with KEEF we get letters from these children in Kenya and hear what they have to do and how happy they are and how grateful they are. This has driven our development of this foundation. “

Both Martins were already active before registering for the Sun Run Virtual Race. Emily has run a half marathon and enjoys other sports too. And Brent used to do the Ironman triathlon. “But I haven’t had it for about 10 years,” he says. “I got on my mountain bike. But I feel like running is something my body really likes when I get out of there. “

To learn more or to donate to KEEF, visit kenyaeducation.org.

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