Northern Supports the Long Sun Run
Life in Portage La Loche, Saskatchewan is not the same as life in a big city like Regina or Saskatoon. It’s obvious that opportunities in the remote Saskatchewan town are not as prevalent, but it doesn’t mean the futures of young people aren’t bright.
From June 2008 to August 2009 there was a string of eight suicides in Portage La Loche. Even though these were dark and gloomy times, student support worker Bibianna King was able to see a way to turn this into something good.
For over 25 years the town held fun runs to promote healthy living and fitness, but rumblings of a half marathon between Bibianna, former school principal Greg Hatch and current principal Stephen King were starting to come to life. Stephen expressed an interest in holding an event to celebrate Portage La Loche’s long summer day, so the marathon was a perfect fit.
“We wanted people to make healthier choices for themselves.” said Bibianna.
But Bibianna was having her doubts about putting on the event.
“I remember one morning saying to my husband Stephen, who would honestly come to our town to run a half marathon? I just remember him saying, how will we know if we never try?” said Bibianna.
Greg tapped into his creative juices and came up with a name for the half marathon. From then on the Long Sun Run was born and along with it came an infectious slogan, “Run for Your Life”. The run takes place in the evening, hence the name Long Sun Run.
“The idea that running is good for your health was obvious, but it was a subtle reference that our lives were in danger if we didn’t exercise regularly,” said Stephen.
Fast forward four years to June 13, 2012 to the 4th Annual Long Sun Run where it was the most successful run they’ve had when 150 people ran for their lives. Bibianna admits it was slow goings when less than 100 people signed up the first year, but she says they wouldn’t be where they are without the volunteers.
“Anybody can plan an event, but you need volunteers to execute it. I don’t want to take credit for anything; I had no idea what I was doing. It has taken reliable people like family and friends that have made this happen for me. All the credit should go to the people who volunteer,” said Bibianna excitedly.
Along with the volunteers, it was all hands on deck for the management and staff at the local Northern store who have helped out with the Long Sun Run for the past two years. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) also teamed up with the run, through their longtime relations with Northern, providing additional resources to make this run possible.
“This year, the Northern provided volunteers for two of our water stations along with all the drinks and refreshments. We are thrilled with the store’s support and consider this one of the community’s more positive activities,” said Stephen.
This year the Northern store in partnership with CDA also purchased the medals for the participants.
Shirley Janvier is a longtime volunteer and says she didn’t even know what the run was about until recently, but she saw it as a reason to help.
“I used to walk in town fun runs but I don’t do that anymore. I just like helping out now with the Long Sun Run,” said Shirley.
To watch this year's Run for Your Life, follow this link: