Dave Mounsey Run Around the Square to go virtual this May
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The 2021 Run Around The Square, benefiting the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, will be moving ahead this May as a virtual event.
Set for the weekend of May 28-30, which is a slight shift from the event’s traditional home of Mother’s Day, the run will move ahead this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Run Around The Square Chair Brenda Orr of Blyth said it was the encouragement of another member of the committee, Jessica Loughlin, that convinced members to move ahead with an event in a virtual format. Not only will it give people something to look forward to and train for, but the style of the event will ensure everyone’s safety.
To take the temperature of participants, Orr said the committee reached out to the nearly 70 people who had registered for the 2020 run before it was cancelled, asking them if they would be interested in a virtual event. The response, she said, was overwhelmingly positive, so committee members hoped they would have a high participation rate for 2021.
Registration for the event remains the same as it has been in recent years, with three distances available on the event’s website: five kilometres ($45), 10 kilometres ($50) and a half-marathon ($55). People will then be able to do the run over the weekend with their own route on their own time, posting their time for all to see once they’re done. Because of the do-it-yourself nature of picking a route and keeping time, there won’t be any prizes this year, Orr said, though the committee is considering some fun prize categories, recognizing things like costumes or team themes, though a final decision has not yet been made.
Orr said much of the decision was made not only to assist the charity in its work of placing life-saving defibrillators in public buildings, but to give people something to look forward to and train for, with exercise being such a positive activity during the pandemic. So, Orr said, not only will participants be doing something positive for themselves by participating, but for others and their community as well.
To date, the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund has placed over 120 defibrillators around southwestern Ontario. Three lives have been saved by Mounsey defibrillators as a result.
Mounsey, for whom the Fund is named, was an Ontario Provincial Police officer based in Wingham. He was killed in a single-vehicle accident in 2006 and the Fund was established a few years later.
Before his death, Mounsey had trained to compete in a marathon in hopes of raising enough money to buy a defibrillator for the Blyth Fire Department, of which he was a member. After Mounsey was killed, the Fund was established to continue doing that work, placing life-saving defibrillators in public buildings across southwestern Ontario. To date, defibrillators have been placed in the names of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and soldiers who were killed in the line of duty.
The first-ever donation was made in Mounsey’s name at Memorial Hall in Blyth and the second donation was made in the name of Cpl. Matthew Dinning of Wingham at the Wingham Legion. Dinning was killed in Afghanistan, serving as a member of the Canadian military police.
To register for the Run Around The Square, visit its website at runaroundthesquare.ca.