Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns and Mackenzie Loyer at an annual race through the Cumberland Forest called the “Cumby.” (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Port Alberni teen runner challenges Trudeau to race

Mackenzie Loyer has invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Paper Chase in Port Alberni

A young Vancouver Island athlete is challenging Canada’s prime minister to a race.

Mackenzie Loyer, 16, has issued a challenge to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to run in the annual Port Alberni Paper Chase, scheduled for March 8 at Cherry Creek Community Hall.

Loyer first came up with the idea after seeing Tofino listed as one of the 20 best places in the world to visit by CNN.

“I know [Justin Trudeau] always goes to Tofino with his family,” said Loyer. “In order for him to get there, he has to go to Port Alberni. It would be cool to see him stopping along the way, helping out our community and bringing more awareness to Port Alberni.”

READ MORE: Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

READ MORE: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stops in at Alberni Valley airport

The Paper Chase is a 15-kilometre race, the fifth race in the Vancouver Island Race Series and “not too bad” in terms of difficulty, says Loyer.

This will be Loyer’s third year competing in the race series. Last year, at age 15, she won first overall in the 16-19 year age category. Loyer, who is currently in Grade 11 at Alberni District Secondary School, also runs with the ADSS track and field club.

READ MORE: Alberni teen wins 2019 Vancouver Island Race Series

Loyer started running in 2016. Her very first race was the No. 7 Challenge, where participants run against Port Alberni’s steam train and end up at McLean Mill National Historic Site. At 12 years old, she won the 23 and under division.

“[Running] can be very challenging,” said Loyer. “But being able to push through the pain, and knowing I can do anything—that translates to all aspects of my life. I can push through the tough times and get to the better times.”

But her competitive nature is not the only thing driving Loyer to issue a challenge to Canada’s prime minister. She also cares deeply about Port Alberni, and feels that the town is often ignored.

“I really think we need to start promoting Port Alberni,” said Loyer. “Port Alberni’s in the shadows. It’s a great town. The trails are beautiful, the lakes are beautiful. It’s just beautiful scenery here. We really need growth to get better as a community.”

One person who has encouraged Loyer in her racing career is Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns. Loyer first met Johns when she was volunteering with the Triconic Challenge back in 2017.

“It was my first time meeting a real politician,” Loyer explained. “I’ve come to respect him not only as a politician, but as a friend who encourages me at the races I attend and cheers me on. He just really wants to bring change to Port Alberni.”

Alana Brown, Loyer’s mother, said that Johns reached out to the family with a phone call after hearing about the challenge.

“He said he wouldn’t be able to attend, but he called her to wish her the best,” said Brown. “He’s such a big support for her.”

Loyer has not yet heard back from Trudeau or his office, but she’s hoping the prime minister will take up the challenge.

Port Alberni made national news last summer when a pair of young men from the small Vancouver Island city were involved in a Canada-wide manhunt. Loyer is hoping to change Port Alberni’s reputation.

READ MORE: Port Alberni fights bad reputation in international media amid manhunt for wanted teens

“Port Alberni received some bad press last summer,” said Loyer. “I would like the people of Canada to know that we are a community that cares about each other.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Justin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle explosions and flames in Kelowna R.V. blaze

Reports came in about the fire at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday morning

Date announced for 2020 Kelowna Walk for ALS

The event will take place on Sunday, June 14 at Waterfront Park

Two former Rockets players make NHL debut

Calvin Thurkauf and Gage Quinney made their NHL debuts on Saturday

Deadline for Central Okanagan dog license savings fast approaching

Owners can register their dogs online at rdco.com/dogs and using the My Dog Matters App

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway

An unstable airmass is producing heavy flurries over parts of the southern highway passes

Morning Start: Dogs can smell cancer

Your morning start for Monday, February 24, 2020

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Father and children killed in fatal crash near Kamloops

The family was travelling from Southern Alberta

Burglar swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Breaking: Penticton woman pleads guilty to manslaughter of boyfriend

Kiera Bourque pleaded guilty in a Penticton courtroom on Monday

Summerland Steam end regular season in third place

Three Junior B hockey games held over past week

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Summerland Steam and Princeton Posse to face off in division semifinals

Junior B hockey teams begin best of seven series on Feb. 28 in Princeton

Most Read