288 kilometres. One goal. To combat violence and suicide within the Syilx Okanagan Nation.
June 3-5 is the annual Spirit of Syilx Unity Run, which will start at the Kamloops Indian Residential School and end on the Penticton Indian Band reserve. Along the way, stops will be made in Pritchard, Chase, Falkland, Kelowna, and Peachland, to name a few.
It was Syilx youth that first started the movement in 2008, which now hosts hundreds of runners each year.
“Based on the previous years, the average age of runners will be in between the ages of 14 and 18, with the youngest runner being five and the oldest in their 60’s,” reads the event’s website.
The majority of runners are expected to be members of the Okanagan Nation communities.
This year’s run also marks a return to in-person running, after virtual runs were held throughout the pandemic. A virtual component will, however, still be available to host giveaways for those who submit their kilometres each day.
A press release for the event made note of the “disproportionate” levels of violence and suicide that the Okanagan Nation continues to face.
“The Unity Run is one of the most impactful approaches the Nation has to addressing these issues collectively, used to raise awareness and education with all youth members, citizens and the public on issues of suicide and violence that continues to confront Syilx communities.”
You can learn more about the event here.