For most of the 389 students participating in the 32nd annual Carmacks River Run on Friday, it was a chance for a run on a warm, sunny day.
However, it meant much more for 12-year-old Golden Horn student Jesse Collins.
“He’s just a very determined boy, very friendly, very loving, big heart,” said Jesse’s teacher Michelle Beaulieu. “Especially when he runs, he’s very determined because it’s painful for him. Just to see him out there in pain—but he keeps on going, cheering other kids on and that’s a quality that not a lot of kids have.”
About six weeks ago, Jesse’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. In the face of tragedy, Jesse decided to help his family by asking people to sponsor him in the River Run.
“I just hand out forms and give them to people, and go up to doors and ask people if they want to sponsor me,” said Jesse, who’s just getting started. “I’ll do more runs.”
Jesse’s idea to raise money by running the river race was inspired by the Terry Fox Run, which he ran last September. While planning to gather sponsors for this September’s Fox run, Beaulieu encouraged him to do both events with sponsors.
“Mrs. Beaulieu said you don’t have to wait, you can run in it to raise money,” said Jesse.
The Grade 6 student’s efforts are even more inspiring because he has arthritis in his ankle and it hurts when he runs.
“I love running and it’s pretty fun,” said Jesse. “I love running even when it’s painful. I concentrate on things (to block the pain).”
Despite this, Jesse could not be talked into running the three-kilometre course, earning every cent of the roughly $1,400 raised by tackling the five-kilometre course instead.
“I tried to convince him to do the three (kilometre course), but he wouldn’t have it,” said Beaulieu. “He did really well; he just trucked along the whole time.”
Students from throughout the Yukon, including Whitehorse’s three high schools, made the trip for the race, which was the first cross-country event of the season.
“It’s an incredible community outing,” said Cully Robinson, principal of Tantalus School in Carmacks, the host of the event. “We have grandparents and parents who ran this race bringing their children here.
“We more than double the community of Carmacks when we run this event, so it’s wonderful.”
Also out for the event was Education Minister Patrick Rouble, who acted as race marshal.
“It’s very impressive that we have this kind of dedication, not just by our athletes but by the teachers in the schools who help them get ready for this,” said Rouble. “On a day like today, with 20-degree weather and a beautiful blue sky, I can’t think of a better thing to do than go for a run around this trail.”
Those who wish to make a donation to Collins’ fund can contact Beaulieu at Golden Horn school or go to the Bank of Nova Scotia where an account has been set up.
1st Jamie King (Elijah Smith)
2nd Charlotte Van Randen (Emilie-Tremblay)
3rd Mary Londero (Emilie-Tremblay)
1st Matthew McBride (Golden Horn)
2nd Keith Gillies (Emilie-Tremblay)
3rd Benson Minard (Emilie-Tremblay)
1st Abilene Freeman (Tantalus)
2nd Tyra Gill (Eliza Van Bibber)
3rd Mackenzie Silas (Eliza Van Bibber)
1st Derek Deuling (Vanier)
2nd Benjamin Shier (Golden Horn)
3rd Samuel Mather (Emilie-Tremblay)
Pee wee girls
1st Aimee Parker (Whitehorse Elementary)
2nd Sophie Jenke (Golden Horn)
3rd Maggie O’Conner-Brook (Golden Horn)
Pee wee boys
1st Gabriel Nadon (Emilie-Tremblay)
2nd Kyran Allen (Emilie-Tremblay)
3rd Marek Boulerice (Emilie-Tremblay)
1st Corey Baxter (FH Collins)
2nd Sara Burke-Forsyth (Whitehorse Elementary)
3rd Jaylene Kelly (Whitehorse Elementary)
1st Caelan McLean (Golden Horn)
2nd Kieran Halliday (Whitehorse Elementary)
3rd Markus Deuling (Whitehorse Elementary)
1st Shannon Combs (Tantalus)
2nd Dahria Beatty (FH Collins)
3rd Ella Parker (FH Collins)
1st Fabian Brook (Vanier)
2nd Luke Londero (Vanier)
3rd Jordan Charlie (FH Collins)
1st Shannon Thompson (Porter Creek)
2nd Katie Lowey (Porter Creek)
3rd Chantelle Rivest (Porter Creek)
1st Logan Roots (FH Collins)
2nd Knute Johnsgaard (FH Collins)
3rd Ted Hunter (n/a)
1st Chantal Minet (FH Collins)
2nd Ellen Boehmer (Porter Creek)
1st Ryan Burlingame (Porter Creek)
2nd Jonathan Lowey (Porter Creek)
3rd Owen MacKinnon (Haines Junction)
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org