A MESSAGE FROM OUR CO-FOUNDER

 Ben West

The first race I ever entered was an exhilarating experience. I was pushing myself harder and faster than I ever had before, as I ran up a hill in East Vancouver. All of a sudden, I saw a small group on the side of the road in the distance and my excitement transformed into a sense of guilt. People holding hand-made signs were yelling at runners ahead of me as they went by. Were these protesters upset about the negative impact this race would have on their community? Was I unknowingly supporting an event that benefited an organization that was doing harm to the environment? I searched for an explanation as I strained my eyes to see what was written on their placards. I felt a wave of relief as I got to the top of the hill and read a sign that simply said “GO GO GO!” Another sign said “You can do it”, and my favourite one said “High fives = an energy boost”. I beamed a goofy, delighted smile at the support crew on the side of the road and truly felt energized after collecting that high five.

As an environmental campaigner, I have spent most of my adult life organizing countless events. Most of them have prominently featured people holding signs that said “stop” this or “no” to that. For the first time the signs I was surrounded by said “go” instead of “Stop!” It was so simple yet so profound. From that point on I knew there was something special happening in the running community. It was amazing to watch all the volunteers and participants joined enthusiastically by their friends and family coming together to support good causes and one another.

My partner Mari and I founded The Great Climate Race because we see a great opportunity to make a difference. Addressing climate change seems insurmountable but we believe the positivity, compassion and determination of the running community is a force to be reckoned with.

A portion of all proceeds and all funds raised by participants in these events will go to the Renewable Energy Fund we established to support local projects. We believe that the experience of coming together and making these projects a reality will help create the momentum that is needed to address climate change, one community at a time around the world. We hope everyone will get involved: elders and kids, first time runners and experienced athletes. By working together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.

Thank you.

Ben West
Co-Founder and Chairperson 

 

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