Participants crossed the Goddess Run finish line in Langford last year while onlookers cheered. Gazette file photo

Participants crossed the Goddess Run finish line in Langford last year while onlookers cheered. Gazette file photo

WOW 2017: Break out your inner goddess in Langford for a good cause

Annual event will support the B.C. Cancer Foundation

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Back for its sixth year on the West Shore, the Goddess Run is all about empowering women while raising money to support local initiatives. Participants will soon be flocking from all regions to don their tutus and raise funds for this year’s charity of choice, the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

“It’s a run/walk for all women of different race abilities,” said Langford race director Tami Tate. “We’re enouraging people to make a weekend of it.”

With activities and events spanning two days, mostly at Westhills Stadium in Langford, she noted the race is about empowering women to feel comfortable, to get out and be fit, all while enjoying each other’s company. “The nice thing about it is it really is a community event … The whole community gets behind it.”

With residents linging the streets cheering on participants, some creating their own makeshift water stations and others setting up sprinklers for goddesses to run through, the event truly is made by the level of community involvement Tate noted. And that was something she got to experience for the first time as a runner last year. “It was a really cool perspective,” she said. “I’ve been running events for years but never actually running in them.”

It’s a type of entusiasm that’s quickly spreading. Cathy Noel, Goddess Run founder, announced earlier this year that the run would be expanding to include a second event in Port Coquitlam this spring. Since Noel will be representing the B.C. Liberal party in the upcoming election, some of her Goddess Run duties have been passed to Tate and other organizers.

An estimated 3,000 participants are expected in Langford this year, with at least another 1,000 expected on the mainland. With that in mind, organizers hope this will be their biggest year yet in terms of participation and fundraising.

“It’s a big expansion year,” Tate said, adding organizers are really trying to encourage participants to start pledge pages and sign up as teams. But it’s better to get a jump on all of that early, Tate warned, as it ensures participants recieved their first choice for t-shirt size and other swag options.

More than 11,000 goddesses have crossed the finish line in the past years, raising roughly $170,000 for local charities. Funds from June’s Langford-based race will go towards a PET/CT scanner for the Island. Funds from the Port Coquitlam race will also be going to the B.C. Cancer Foundation but for equipment targetted for that area.

The Victoria Goddess Run will take place on June 4, starting and finishing at Westhills Stadium. The Port Coquitlam Goddess Run is scheduled for the following weekend on June 11, starting and finishing at Hyde Creek Recreation Centre. Both will feature 5K and 10K events as well as a race for kids.

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Goldstream News Gazette