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“Routes for Roots” takes COVID in stride

UpRiver Running helps raise money for Roots to Harvest
Antonio Stefanile (left) and Nick Whitbread (right) from UpRiver Running


When the COVID-19 pandemic come to Canada and Ontario began its shut down, no one had any idea what we were in for. Though Roots to Harvest was able to work with partners and funders to totally shift gears into food access for communities, families, elders and seniors we also lost most of the mechanisms to raise funds to support our programs.

The cancellation of Polar Bear Plunge, our sit-down farm to table dinners, Matterhorn Madness, Tampopo film night as well as the interruption to our monthly donor campaign resulted in almost $90,000 in lost fundraising revenue.

But so.many.people have stepped up in big ways. New one time donors, new monthly donors, businesses and groups making significant contributions and then community organized virtual events! The world shifted, and this community shifted to look after each other!

UpRiver Running was one of those groups who stepped up to help us, even as they had their own trail running events and plans cancelled and uncertain. The trail running community in Thunder Bay has always been supportive and active and when UpRiver Running put out the challenge to try a virtual trail run, more than 100 people answered!

UpRiver Running is about bringing people together to enjoy trail running, which is no easy feat during a global pandemic. But their mission of “…creating fun and challenging running experiences through unique runs and races…” was totally accomplished by the Routes for Roots course. A beautiful trail through Centennial Park, including a wicked hill climb, with the options of doing one or two loops and trying to beat your own times (and others) as many times as you like with one registration within a set time period, was an awesome way to give trail runners the experience they’ve been missing all spring and summer.

2 Routes Top Male - Scott Wiebe - 0:49:37
2 Routes Top Female - Alannah MacLean - 0:57:02
2 Routes Top Master - John Power - 0:57:57
1 Route Top Male - James Aldridge - 0:26:53
1 Route Top Female - Carrina Whybourne - 0:28:47
1 Route Top Master - Kip Sigsworth - 0:27:40
8K Top Finisher - Greg Ponych - 0:45:43 (Australia)
'Out of Towner"

Congratulations to all the Top Finishers, amazing performances. Congratulations to everyone who showed up and ran and the many inspiring performances from throughout the field.

Thank you, everyone, for supporting Roots to Harvest and thank you UpRiver Running for organizing this amazing event!


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