The Runner | Vancouver Sun Run raises money for students in Kenya

The in-person Sun Run in Vancouver takes place on April 16 hosted by KEEF. (Submitted)

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the Vancouver Sun Runhosted by Kenya Education Endowment Fund (KEEF), is a 10 km run to raise funds for youth in Kenya and will take place virtually from April 14 to 16 across the United States and Canada. The in-person race in Vancouver will be on April 16.

The race outlines a scenic course in Vancouver’s downtown, starting at Burrard Street and finishing outside BC Place Stadium. Registration for the race closes on Jan 31.

Shelagh Armour-Godbolt, director at KEEF, says the purpose of the race is to help the student support fund which aids with dental work, eye care, maintains a library of study books for the students, and provides scientific calculators. The fund also helps with a laptop and internet access for students in the first year of post-secondary education.

“You could live anywhere in Canada or the United States, you could register with the Vancouver Sun Run and you would do your 10 kilometers in your own community wherever you chose,” Armor-Godbolt says.

The in-person race ends with a wrap party at BC Place Stadium that includes an awards’ ceremony for the top finishers, entertainment, and refreshments provided by the sponsors.

KEEF publicizes participants in the local papers so people can make donations to support the participants’ efforts.

β€œIt has been a very successful way to raise funds for our students because people like to support a local person who is volunteering their energy and time. And so, they can be quite supportive,” Armor-Godbolt says.

The race also provides funds for a mentoring/leadership training program in Kenya for high school graduates provided with an honorarium to help other students who might need assistance and extra tutoring.

KEEF gives 3,000 shillings, Kenya’s currency, to each mentor per month to assist with the expenses. The students also take a certificate course in leadership skills in their first year of university.

β€œThese are young people who are from families that are used to [making], if they’re lucky, $3 a day, that may be equivalent of it. So there just isn’t the money for an emergency like that,” Armor-Godbolt says.

KEEF also provides scholarships for about 38 post-secondary and more than 100 secondary students in Kenya.

β€œWe have a special donation, which allows us if someone is wanting to register and can’t afford the full $30, they are invited to get in touch with me and we can provide partial help with that,” Armour-Godbolt says.

The race was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was introduced as a virtual event in 2021. In 2022, the race was organized in a hybrid format. The race attracts over 40,000 participants each year.

The registration fairy for the in-person race from Nov 16 to Jan 31 is $54 followed by $64 from Feb 1 to April. 13. The fee for the virtual race is $30 from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 followed by $40 from Feb. 1 to March 31.

“We’re emphasizing for people to register before the end of January, because after that the cost to them of registering goes up.”

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