Nearly 200 take part in Kelowna Kids Run

A stampede of 180 kids raced around City Park Saturday as they took part in the BMO ABC Kids Run.

One hundred and eighty kids take off from the starting line of the BMO ABC Kids Run Saturday.

A stampede of 180 kids raced around City Park Saturday as they took part in the BMO ABC Kids Run.

The race began around 1 p.m. Saturday. Some of the kids taking part gave their best effort to finish first. Others tried to complete the 1.6 kilometre distance without walking.

Most seemed happy just to reach the finish line, where they were cheered on by family members and event volunteers.

That was the case for the Ford family.

Siblings Isabella (10), Oliver (4) and Layla (2) stayed toward the back of the pack, but were thrilled to cross the finish line and receive medals for their efforts.

“They were starting to get tired part way through, but they got their second wind and had a lot of fun,” said their father, Ben, shortly after the race.

Ben noted that the children’s grandmother usually signs up her grandkids and runs the race with them.

According to BMO ABC Kids Run coordinator Brian Kropman, six activity centres were added this year to make the run a fuller event.

“You want to create a day, you don’t just want to have a run and end it,” said Kropman.

“It’s about coming out and participating in the activity centres…then having a fun run and being excited to complete something, get a medal and just have a day about fun and exercise.”

Marathon volunteers also gave the children various tips before the race began, such as how to stretch properly.

Kropman said he was happy with the turnout of nearly 200 young racers.

With so many kids running at once, on a narrow path, certain precautions were be taken to ensure safety.

“We line up the older kids up front—they’re going to be the faster ones, they’re going to take off right away. We put the smaller ones at the end.

“Things are always going to happen, but we try to nullify that by fitting the age groups accordingly.”

The BMO ABC Kids Run was part of this weekend’s 18th Annual BMO Okanagan Marathon.

As many as 3,200 participants were expected throughout the weekend.