Manly high heels race raises dollars for Kelowna women’s shelters

Royal LePage held their second annual Red Shoe Shuffle for Shelter and fourth annual Garage Sale for Shelter on Saturday.

The finalists of the second annual Red Shoe Shuffle try to find a last piece of women's clothing in order to secure a victory.

Twelve men and 24 bright red high heels raced through the Orchard Plaza parking lot on Saturday.

Each man was attempting to become champion of the second annual Red Shoe Shuffle for Shelter.

But more importantly, the men risked ankle injuries and painful blisters to help raise money for a good cause.

“I think they did very well,” said Anita Clegg, a Royal LePage realtor and the Kelowna representative for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

“What has always really surprised me is how eager they are to put these red shoes on and run.”

The Red Shoe Shuffle for Shelter required each participant to dress up head-to-toe in women’s clothing, put on a pair of high heels and then race to the finish line.

In the end it was Andy Shillington, winemaker at The View Winery, who was most in touch with his feminine side.

“I thought I had absolutely no chance, but I was stable on my heels and off we went,” said Shillington.

The event was part of Royal LePage’s fourth annual Garage Sale for Shelter. Since 2009, the Canada-wide event has raised more than $850,000 to support women’s shelters across the country and help fund long-term solutions to end violence in Canadian homes.

The garage sale is a national initiative that takes place in over 120 locations throughout Canada; however, the high heels race is unique to Kelowna.

“We thought outside the box last year and came up with it,” said Clegg.

“It’s been a very effective way of increasing what we actually raise for the shelters.”

Over $9,000 had been raised locally before the actual race and Clegg anticipated that, with funds continuing to roll in during the cross-dressing relay, the local total would easily exceed $10,000.

The women’s shelters that will benefit from the fundraiser are local chapters of the New Opportunities for Women Canada Society and the Elizabeth Fry Society, as well as the Kelowna Women’s shelter.

The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation was created in 1999 and has raised over $14 million since its inception.