Virtual Run for Southlake returns with four-week challenge

·4 min read

The Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake has been a storied community event for nearly two decades.

Once a run that snaked through Aurora streets, in recent years it has begun and ended close to Southlake Regional Health Centre, which receives tens of thousands of dollars each year thanks to everyone who has laced up to take part.

Last year, the global pandemic forced a delay and then a run re-launched for a virtual realm – and, for the second year running, participants are once again making their own unique contributions to the cause online.

The 2021 Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake this year will take the form of a four-week virtual challenge that will encourage you to get active however you choose.

Running from April 12 – May 9, the challenge will be divided into weekly themes, each building on the skills acquired – or brushed up on – the previous week.

“Eat Well with Southlake” kicks off the first week “by focusing on your nutrition. Hear from professionals at Nature’s Emporium about foods that fuel you. Set your own nutritional goal for the week!” The second will take these individual nutritional goals and look at ways you can make these goals a habit year-round: “Keeping your nutrition goals in mind, focus on how often you want to move this week. Work on your long-term health by making fitness a consistent part of your routine.”

The third week, “Build your endurance with Southlake” will shift gears further towards staying active: “This week is all about endurance. Decide how long you want to move each time you get active. Is it five minutes a few times a day, or one 30-minute workout class? Set goals based on what fits your schedule best.”

The final week? “Go the distance.”

“Want to run a marathon for this week? Bike 10km in 30 minutes? Jump rope around the block? Set any personal distance goal and decide how far you want to go for Southlake.”

As for Southlake itself, they have a specific fundraising goal in mind: $175,000 for the Southlake Foundation, which will go towards the purchase of equipment and other essentials required for quality care close to home.

In last year’s fundraising efforts for the first Virtual Run, the Town of Aurora led the fundraising pack among the York Region municipalities within Southlake’s Catchment Area.

With Aurora winning the cup in a friendly competition raising more than $45,000 for Southlake, Newmarket Councillor Kelly Broome appeared before last week’s virtual Council meeting to not only promote the cause on behalf of the Foundation but throw down the gauntlet on behalf of our neighbours to the north.

“At the Southlake Foundation, we fundraise with one goal in mind: supporting our leading-edge hospital and the communities it serves to make sure they have the tools and equipment they need to do their best work,” said Councillor Broome. “As the community grows and changes, our hospital and foundation fundraising goals grow too. As always, we’re looking to ensure we’re serving our current and future patients best. For almost 100 years, Southlake has shown a passion and care for our community, from our beginnings as a six-person bed care home, it has evolved to become a 500 regional centre that provides leading-edge hospital services. Southlake is building healthy communities through outstanding care, innovative partnerships, and amazing people like you.

“Southlake is our hospital. It is where our friends, our families, our neighbours and our community members go to receive leading edge care close to home. Whether it is the birth of a new baby, complex cardiac care, cancer treatment or an emergency visit, Southlake is proud to serve our communities.”

The four-week challenge, she said, will enable participants and the community at large to build on skills strengthened during previous weeks to “warm up after some pretty seriously uncomfortable winter months due to COVID-19.”

“The health and safety of our communities is our top priority as our hospital continues to fight against COVID-19 and the physical distancing guidelines remain in place,” she continued. “This year we are inviting you to join us once again for a virtual Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake.

“The great thing about a virtual event is it is so much more customized to your goals, which you will be able to set and track, badges along the way, and access exclusive content to help you get there. Registration is already open at runforsouthlake.ca. Registration is $50 per person for all ages. This includes your t-shirt, medal, race kit bag, plus access to exclusive content through the four-week challenge. Be amongst the first to register and get a pair of custom running gloves as a bonus gift. Quantities are limited, so act fast.”

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran