Get ready to make merry Dec. 6

Rotary Club’s 36th annual Merrython Fun Run and Walk is coming to Henderson Rec

The 36th annual Oak Bay Merrython comes to Henderson Rec Centre Sunday

Dig out your jingle bells, don your reindeer antlers and get ready to make merry.

The Rotary Club’s 36th annual Merrython Fun Run and Walk is coming up Sunday, Dec. 6, a way to welcome the holiday season and share a little Christmas spirit.

“It really does seem to kick off Christmas in a really nice, positive way,” says Rotarian Heather Aked, president of the Rotary Club of Oak Bay and Merrython chair.

The four-kilometre walk and eight-kilometre run get underway at 10 a.m. with the 1 km children’s fun run for those age 11 and younger getting underway at 11:15 a.m. Jazzercise kicks off this family event with a five-minute pre-run warm-up. “It just gets people in really good spirits,” Aked says. You come away feeling good about things because it’s about community.”

In addition to scenic courses, on-course entertainment, participant T-shirts (gloves for the kids’ runners) and free refreshments, the popular local event also offers childminding and a special visit from Santa.

“One of the nice things about this event is that families participate, so we have generations running together,” Aked says.

Originally started by the staff of the Henderson Recreation Centre back in the early 1980s to draw attention to their fitness programs, the Oak Bay firefighters came on board 20 years later and championed the event for a decade to raise money for Santas Anonymous.

Six years ago, Recreation Oak Bay approached the Rotary Club of Oak Bay with the Merrython as an opportunity for the club to raise funds, and more importantly, raise their profile in the community.

“It’s a great community partnership. The Oak Bay Recreation Centre provides the framework for advertising, the link to the municipality for course and event approval, space for the event, safety equipment, etc.,” Aked says.

Also on site will be members of the Rotary-affiliated Interact and Roteract clubs from Oak Bay High and UVic, and members from Runners of Compassion who will be collecting food for local food banks.

“This year we expect around 170 registrants and 25 kids and hope to raise more than $3,000,” Aked says. “The money raised helps to support the Rotary club’s projects both locally and internationally. Our emphasis is on youth and literacy. Locally, we have supported the George Jay, Macaulay and Quadra schools with smart boards, document projectors, musical instruments etc. We also support International projects involving youth, health and hygiene in Malawi, Rwanda, Guatemala, Mexico and India.”

Register online at the Oak Bay Recreation website, in person at Henderson Rec Centre or at the event on race day, or by phone at 250-370-7200. And new this year, you can now sign up with a team.