Community partnerships leverage annual race to bring awareness to adventures off the beaten path

From the trails to Mount Everest Base Camp to the paved route of the Times Colonist 10K, three Victoria organizations are raising awareness of a versatile piece of equipment that makes adventures accessible for people living in the Capital Regional District.

Power To Be, Recreational Integration Victoria (RIV) and PISE (Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence) have partnered to bring a team of more than 20 people together to race using TrailRiders, single-wheeled wheelchairs designed to bring people out into nature. And while it may seem an unlikely fit for a 10-kilometre race routed through a city, the event is the perfect place to showcase what’s possible when people have the right supports.

“It’s not built for speed, but it is built to move on different terrain. A road is easy compared to where we have taken it,” says Carolyn Macdonald, Power To Be Community Development Coordinator who helped organize the team. “It’s always an adventure and that’s what we love.”

Power To Be uses its two TrailRiders, one in Victoria and one in Vancouver, to share places such as Mystic Beach, Prospect Lake, Strathcona Park and Mt. Finlayson with participants. RIV has two TrailRiders within its Equipment Loan Service, which is open to anyone living in the Capital Regional District.

The three organizations are members of OneAbility, the Greater Victoria Collaborative for Adaptive Sport and Physical Activity. The umbrella group is focused on supporting organizations to work together to provide programming and services within the local community. The TC10K is an opportunity to share an adventure with the group participating and hopefully inspire a broader audience.

Races of any distance offer a chance to work towards your personal best in a community setting, Carolyn says. That’s part of the appeal that is bringing her back for her third TC10K.

“Every time I am part of this race I find camaraderie in strangers,” she says.

It’s a sentiment Amie Renaud, RIV Coordinator of Services echoes.

“Running with the TrailRiders as part of the TC10K is so much more than simply running. We will be working as a team and supporting each other to finish the run together,” she says. “I believe that is very symbolic of how our society can work collaboratively and support each other to participate in fulfilling and meaningful ways, because when we include, we connect.”

And if someone in the crowd tells a friend who knows someone who could benefit from access to a TrailRider, or other inclusive services, the initiative will be even more of a success, says Chris Wright, PISE Physical Literacy Coordinator.

“Being able to showcase our partnership and services to a vast audience on race day will hopefully get the word out there that there are always options for people,” he says.

The Times Colonist 10K is Sunday, April 30. We hope to see you there!