Run for Change carries on Krista's dream
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Runners take off as the sixth annual Krista Johnson Memorial Run for Change gets underway at Pembroke's Riverside Park. The event, which attracted 300 competitors, raised funds for Elevate Your Health and the Youth Fitness Centre.
She was intelligent, beautiful and genuine. A master of human kinetics and social work, all Krista Johnson wanted to do was make her community a better place to live, especially for the youth.
Her dream carried on Sunday at Pembroke's Riverside Park as 300 people ranging from elementary-aged students to seniors challenged themselves in the sixth annual Krista Johnson Memorial Run for Change. The event supports Elevate Your Health and the Youth Fitness Centre, which provides programming to encourage healthy lifestyles for local youth through the Youth Fitness Studio, Live it Up, and more.
The morning kicked off with the half marathon at 9 a.m. which was followed up by the 10-kilometre and the five-kilometre before concluding with a two kilometre family run. A festive atmosphere overtook the park as runners prepared for their excursion by looking over a silent auction and receiving a rub-down. Once their trek was completed, participants took in a hearty barbecue.
During the opening ceremony near an outdoor gym built along the Kiwanis Walk in Krista's memory, Mayor Mike LeMay thanked the Johnson family for their dedication to providing such a service to the youth, as well as praising volunteers, sponsor and competitors for donating and taking time from a warm pre-summer weekend to lace up their runners for a worthy cause.
“Your participation allows the Krista Johnson Memorial Foundation to raise funds to help grow Krista's legacy,” said LeMay. “I am sure Krista is watching with a smile on her face and she wants everyone to have a great day.
Remembered by family and friends Sunday as a passionate young woman, Krista believed strongly in the importance of empowering young girls to lead a healthy lifestyle, through physical activity, thereby promoting a healthy mind and body. “Elevate” was a business name that Krista had already chosen in her part time work conducting boot camps for women and the “Live it Up” program for adolescent girls. Since opening in 2015, the multi-use Elevate centre has offered rowing and elliptical machines, treadmills, spin bikes, hand weights, kettle bells, resistance tubes and Bosu balls. The centre has also hosted special events like tae boxing, hip hop, zumba, yoga, Tabata and boot camps. The run, itself, has evolved into something so much bigger than even Krista, who ran community runs for other charities, could have imagined, said her mother, Laurie Johnson.
“I remember we had stop watches and she would ask me to time the people,” she remarked. “It was a elemental version of what we have now but she started.”
The Run for Change is becoming a regional event as well. A squad of 23 runners from Arnprior District High School entered into the 10-kilometre race. Arnprior Grade 12 student Brooke Bean said she was touched by Krista's story.
“It's really interesting how she wanted to get the youth involved,” she said.
“I like running and supporting local causes,” added fellow Arnprior runner William Roffey, noting that each fall his school raises money for social housing through their own charity run.
Curtis Barr, who usually competes in the school's football team, finished fourth overall with a time of 10 minutes, 32 seconds.
“I've never really run a distance for an actual organized event so I want to do the best I can and get a good time,” said Barr.
Tony Machado took first place in the half marathon with a time of 10:35, followed by Tony Biernacki, in second place, and Bryan Magnayon, in third. Sean Corrigan finished first in the 10-kilometre with a time of 10:26, followed by second place Evan Bissonette. In the five-kilometre, Ryan Salsbury came across the finish line first at 10:17, followed by Thomas Csisztu, in second, and Xavier Chingee, in third.