Tea Party hits the ground running

St. Patrick’s elementary leadership students are ready for the Mat Hatter Fun Run

St. Patrick’s elementary leadership students are ready for the Mat Hatter Fun Run

Students organize Mad Hatters’ 3K fun run

Hardly mad, but decked out in hats, about 100 people are expected to gather for the Mad Hatter Fun Run this weekend.

The three-kilometre run precedes the Oak Bay Tea Party parade and follows the same route. Fancy, crazy or modest hats are encouraged, but not necessary.

In the past, runner and Victoria businessman Rob Reid has organized the event. This year, he passed the reins to the students of St. Patrick’s elementary school’s leadership class.

“When you’ve got a job, you have to do it well,” said Grade 7 student Camila Grove, of what organizing the fun run taught her about leadership. “You’re kind of on your own to get everything together.”

The students wrote letters to potential sponsors, designed brochures and even went door-knocking at Oak Bay businesses to petition for prize donations.

For four years the Mad Hatter Fun Run has been tied to the Cool Aid Society’s Every Step Counts program, the Reid-inspired running group for people facing mental illness, unstable housing, addictions and other social issues. The program’s goal is to help people develop self-confidence and make positive friendships through a healthy activity.

“What people will do is potentially bring (items to donate). That’s why we keep the registration fee down, so people will donate,” Reid said of the Mad Hatter run. “It’s a really neat program.”

St. Patrick’s leadership student Peter Jenkins said Cool Aid’s work is important because it’s local and tackles the huge issue of homelessness in the city.

Grove added the school has “always helped with the community, so we wanted (the run’s proceeds) to stay within the community and thought homelessness was a pretty big deal.”

Registration for the fun run is $5 and donations to the Cool Aid Society can be dropped off at the starting line on race day, Saturday (June 4). The route starts at Windsor Park at 10:15 a.m. and ends at Willows Beach.

For more information or to register, go to Frontrunners at 1200 Vancouver St. or visit www.oakbayteaparty.com/parade.

ecardone@vicnews.com