BOW VALLEY – As Canadians get ready to cheer for athletes at the Tokyo Olympics over multi-media platforms, the BE EPIC Run is making way to applaud national-level competitors from our own backyards.
The inaugural virtual event is Sunday (July 25) and participants can do the run or walk anytime, anywhere and for any distance with all donations going toward Canadian female athletes on the world stage.
“Wherever you are in Canada on Sunday, July 25, walk or run in your neighbourhood as far as you want and make a donation to support our female Canadian athletes,” said Jane Roos, founder of CAN Fund, a national charity supporting Canada’s national team athletes.
The BE EPIC Run is part of CAN Fund’s #150Women campaign, an initiative with the goal that more women support women athletes.
“It’s really being embraced by the female athletes who it’s supporting and parents and the Can Fund alumni,” said Roos. “I think that it’s just something that everyone sees as such a great and needed thing – like it’s necessary, women needing to support women.”
Registration is free, but people are asked to make a donation. Donors receive a tax receipt and will find out which athlete funds are positively affecting.
This year, 850 athletes and Para-athletes applied to CAN Fund for supporting, a $6,000 bursary per person, including members of the biathlon and cross-country ski teams training out of Canmore.
One member who’s a multiple time recipient of CAN Fund is 2018 Olympian Dahria Beatty.
The cross-country skiing star is supporting the BE Epic Run with her own #TeamDahria running team.
"They are an amazing supporter of Canadian athletes," said Beatty. "The money raised during the Be Epic Run will go primarily to Canadian female athletes training for the Winter Olympics this coming February. I have created a team to try to help spread awareness about the event and to support my fellow summer athletes as they begin competing in Tokyo this weekend."
Canmore’s Becca Frangos, an elite climber who barely missed a spot on Canada’s Olympic squad for sport climbing’s 2021 debut, is an ambassador for CAN Fund.
She’ll also participate in Sunday’s virtual run supporting female athletes competing for Canada.
“I myself am one of those female athletes who has the opportunity to wear the maple leaf on the world stage and also have been working part-time with CAN Fund since March,” said Frangos. “Many people don’t realize that the majority of athletes need to cover the costs of flights, training camps, competition fees, equipment from their own pocket, which can be very difficult to offset when training 20-plus hours per week.”
The hefty fee realities of competing at the highest level is why Roos decided to help top athletes.
A devastating car crash in the early 2000s that killed one of Roos' friend's also forced the heptathlete to retire from competitive sport. While in hospital recovering, Roos began raising money for a worthy cause, but she didn't know what at the time. Before she knew it, $40,000 had been raised from donors and despite not being able to compete anymore herself, she knew many athletes who could use the extra push.
Since 2004, CAN Fund’s funded 80 per cent of athletes and Para-athletes who’ve competed at summer and winter Games’.
At this summer's Tokyo Games, 33 women and 24 men are representing Canada including Canmore race walker Mat Bilodeau.
“All the donations that come in to CAN Fund are from Canadians who really understand the importance of supporting Canadian talent, who understand that any point in their lives when someone stepped up it made a difference, it was a game-changer," said Roos. "But with these athletes they need the money to support equipment and coaching and physio and training camps."
With the #150women campaign, she hopes to raise $150,000 for female athletes with women leading the charge.
To register for the virtual event, visit www.beepicrun.ca.