by Jonathon Liedtke • Friday, July 6th, 2012 at 2:00 pm • Posted in
The official run for the War of 1812 Bicentennial is the World Alzheimer’s Day Run for Heroes Marathon to be held on September 23. The Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County invites participants to celebrate 200 years of peace and friendship between Canada and the United States, along with the longest unprotected border in the world.
To incorporate the War of 1812 and add a bit of fun to the event, when participants register they get to select whether to run as an American (blue coat) or an Empire Loyalist-British (red coat). Organizers estimate that 40% of runners will be representing the Americans during the race. In addition, during the Fort Malden stretch of the marathon, runners will also be able to see an 1812 battle reenactment.
The event is Canada’s most southern marathon, serves as the Boston Marathon Qualifier, and is a 42k, 21k, 10k and/or 5k run. The marathon is advertised as one of the “flattest runs in the world”, featuring an elevation difference of 31 feet.
The event has grown steadily year by year. Starting off with about 50 or 60 people in the first year, last year the number of participants was roughly 750 runners. “This year the goal is to reach almost 4,000 runners,” stated Maurizio Tiberia, development officer for the Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County. “Last year it became a certified Boston Marathon qualifying course. Anybody wanting to qualify for the Boston Marathon can participate in what is considered one of the fastest Boston Marathon qualifications; mostly because it’s so flat.”
In addition to local participants, registrations have come in from British Columbia, Florida, California, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. Only 4,000 spots are available and half of those spots are gone so register early.
The event is held specifically to raise awareness and funds for local programs and services for those in need. “We have over 5,800 individuals that are diagnosed with some type of dementia, and we service all those in Windsor and Essex County,” said Tiberia.
The event is led by volunteer Chris Uszynski, whose father has been battling dementia for over 20 years. “His main goal is to raise awareness and try to raise funds for the local Alzheimer’s Society because it’s so close to him,” said Tiberia.
Tiberia knows there is a need to provide more beds for people with dementia as hospitals are faced with overcrowding. “We’re looking into options in Windsor Essex to provide a residence for people with dementia. We’re in the discovery stages; discussions with various community groups and seeing the viability and if necessary. What we’re looking at is multiple homes throughout Essex County.”
Participants and volunteers are still be accepted for the World Alzheimer’s Day Run for Heroes Marathon on September 23 at 7:15 a.m. Registration is $35 to $75 depending on the distance you choose and the price goes up September 3.