The AMA Youth Run Club was all over the map (the Alberta map, that is!) this spring season, but that doesn’t mean we were disorganized. Actually, quite the opposite! 

The 2019 spring YRC season could safely be called our busiest ever. One school-hosted fun run in May, at Red Deer’s Esculea Vista Grande School, was followed by six fun runs in June at schools in Beaumont, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Leduc, Lethbridge and Red Deer.

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The AMA Youth Run Club is all over the map!
Introducing … the Trail Rider

In June, the Youth Run Club kicked its inclusivity strategy into action with the use of the Paralympic Sport Association’s Trail Rider (TR). The TR is a one-wheeled reclining chair operated by two or three people, providing the TR passenger with the same, fresh-air, outdoor experience as his/her fellow hikers, walkers and runners. Suitable for adults or children, the TR helps persons with disabilities participate in and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities they may otherwise not be able to. 

Amy Rusnell, a teacher’s aide at Ormsby School, watched Emily grinning and enjoying herself while staff from the PSA, Ever Active Schools, the school and fellow students took turns operating the Trail Rider. Rusnell said, “It’s amazing that she could participate and feel like everyone else!”

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Emily, a student at Ormsby School, enjoys the Trail Rider, with help from PSA and EAS staff (Photo credit: Kayli McClelland, EAS)

While the positive role that the Trail Rider played in Emily’s experience at the Youth Run Club Fun Run was written all over her face, the benefits extended even further. Emily’s classmates couldn’t contain their curiosity and interest in the Trail Rider, both riding in it and helping to operate it. As school principal Mrs. Jennifer Lesko also gleefully took her turn aboard the Trail Rider, it was clear that a culture of positivity and compassion is nurtured at Ormsby School, “where everyone is someone special.”

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Bees to honey … PSA’s Trail Rider was very popular (Photo credit: Vanda Killeen, AMA)
Round two for the Trail Rider

A few days after PSA staff brought their Trail Rider to Ormsby School in southwest Edmonton, they kindly brought it to Linsford Park School in Leduc, where it was again very well received because it helped Wylie to participate in the YRC Fun Run with her schoolmates. Just like at Ormsby School, the Trail Rider was a hit with everyone! 

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With the help of Cameron Holoboff (Ever Active Schools), Wylie heads out to join her schoolmates on the YRC Fun Run at Linsford Park School (Photo credit: Vanda Killeen, AMA)
Thank you to our AMA YRC champions

For the spring 2019 season of the AMA Youth Run Club, four of our YRC Fun Run events featured AMA member physicians and a third-year University of Alberta medical student who provided enthusiastic and motivating greetings. From the soles of our running shoes to the tips of our hats, we would like to thank the following: 

  • Dr. Cinzia Gaudelli - May 1, Esculea Vista Grande School, Red Deer

  • Tanya Schuman (medical student) - June 4, Ormsby School, Edmonton

  • Dr. Kimberly Kelly - June 12, Linsford Park School, Leduc

  • Dr. Emmi Driedger - June 18, Fairview Elementary School, Red Deer

YRC Dr. Kim Kelly cheering
Thank you, Dr. Kim Kelly (Photo credit: Vanda Killeen, AMA)

AMA Youth Run Club sponsors

Since it began in 2013, with 4,000 kids and 77 schools, the AMA Youth Run Club has been steadily growing in participant numbers and expanding its program offerings. The impressive growth of this school-based, inclusive health and physical activity initiative would not be possible without the support of generous program sponsors: Alberta Blue Cross (gold), MD Financial Management (silver), and Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop (in-kind).