Vertical Slam gets families outdoors, donates gift cards to SD60 food programs

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Registration for the 6th annual Vertical Slam Ultimate Challenge is officially open and …

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. –  Registration for the 6th annual Vertical Slam Ultimate Challenge is officially open and hopes to raise even more funds for SD60 food programs this time.

Last year, the annual trail run went virtual. Plans were in place to do a live event at Beatton Park, but restrictions forced organizers to pivot. According to volunteer Laurie Cardinal, the participants walked, cycled, climbed, or whatever they could to get active, have some fun, and raise money for community school food programs.

“It was a really cool program where people had a week to do the run with their bubble, or in their safe scenarios. People ran in town, we had people bike, swim, to achieve a time.”

Participants had fun making their own custom bibs, sharing them on social media with their times.

Despite not being able to host a live event last year, Vertical Slam donated $950 worth of food gift cards to 22 different schools in School District 60. Those funds are used for breakfast programs, snack programs, and students have even used those funds to bake goodies for seniors in the community.

Food insecurity is an unfortunate reality for many families, and students sometimes go to school with no lunch.

This year, Cardinal is optimistic that provincial health regulations will allow for the live event this summer so that people can experience the amazing new 21-kilometre course.

“The new route is the 21-kilometre route. You’ll see a lot more of the backcountry. It’s amazing; you go through every different kind of terrain. I think when people get back in there, they are going to be shocked at what we have locally, which is a gift, in its essence.”

There won’t be a big banner waiting at the finish line and fanfare for the race winner. Instead, Cardinal suggests the event as a fun activity for the whole family to participate in, and it’s outdoors to boot.

While the event is meant to be enjoyable for the whole family, the course provides more than enough challenge for those who can’t get enough trail running.

“To put it short, I participate in the Canadian Death Race quite often, and I use that course for my training.”

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