On August 26th 2017, the Chisasibi Run was back for the fourth consecutive year. The event brought together 232 runners and walkers of all ages, about the same number as last year. 60% of participants were new this year. Preparations for the race began in February 2017, and the lead up and publicity even attracted participants from as far away as Kawawachikamash!
Diane Croteau launched the first run in 2014. After two years of organizing the event, she passed the torch to Audrée Gilbert, nutritionist for the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay in Chisasibi. The success of this year’s race owes a lot to Audrée’s dedication, the help of many volunteers, and the support of the Recreation Department and Band Council of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi. Funding was received from, among others, the HEAL program (Health Environment - Active Living), a Health Canada community fund administered by Regional Public Health department of the Cree Health Board.
The emphasis of the Chisasibi Run is on participation, Miyupimaatisiiun, and being together, not rankings. Participants can choose whether to run or walk, and they can choose their distance: 2, 5, 10 or 21 km. The walkers and runners are role models for other members of the community. Abraham Loon walked 21 km, and some, like Pauline Matthew, were back for the fourth year in a row. "Walking and running is a commitment to yourself and your health," said Audrée Gilbert. Some participants told her that they planned to do the 5 km race and that on the day of the race, they changed their minds and decided to do the 10 km. For Audrée Gilbert, the highlight of the event is the beginning, when everyone is gathered together on the starting line.
At the finish line, the volunteers greeted the runners and walkers with medals and a colorful and healthy buffet, which is in keeping with the emphasis on healthy lifestyle and the role of the nutritionist in organizing the event.
A fifth edition of the Chisasibi Run is scheduled to take place in 2018. On the menu is a new approach that will make the race even more exciting and memorable! To know what Audrée Gilbert and her team have in mind for us, join the Chisasibi Run 2018 next year!
Story and photos by Catherine Rhéaume-Provost (Chisasibi)
For more information:
See more photos of Chisasibi Run 2017: https://www.flickr.com/gp/creepublichealth/j64i6F
Look up ‘Run Chisasibi’ on Facebook
HEAL Funding application: http://www.creehealth.org/HEAL