A spirit of teamwork, collaboration and good humour prevailed at the second annual Woman2Warrior race at West Shore Parks and Recreation on Sunday.
More than 160 women ran five kilometres then tackled an obstacle course that tested their climbing abilities and their willingness to crawl through ice cold water, all in the name of raising money for B.C. Lions Society and Easter Seals programs.
At the finish line, participants sounded thrilled to have completed the untimed event, but also happy to help raise money.
“We’re proud to support the cause; it’s important,” said Tammi Fitch of Victoria, one of six members of the Integra Superwomen team, who were easy to spot in their superhero costumes.
Following the crunching of numbers in the back rooms by volunteers, the total raised of $56,875 was announced at the finish line to a throng of participants and supporters.
“This year’s event was amazing. We had so many great teams, everybody dressed up in costumes and they enjoyed doing it,” said Shannon Bernays, special event co-ordinator for Vancouver Island for the Lions Society and Easter Seals.
“They worked hard over a number of months for fundraising, and so this is a big celebration for them. And they get to go out with their teammates and support each other.”
Participants ranged in age from 15 to 70 and participated on teams or as individuals. Some solo racers were even welcomed into other teams, Bernays said.
With a number of teams back for their second time, many of those groups grew their participation and their fundraising, she added.
With the fundraising aspect of the event over by the time they reached the start line, the women involved were able to focus on the course and have fun challenging themselves.
Asked if she had a favourite obstacle on the course, Integra team member Sari Ringma of Sooke didn’t hesitate: “I loved the ice bath,” she said, laughing. “I kept wondering whether I should stop but I didn’t know if anyone was behind me.”
Jennifer Midlane of Langford teamed up with her mother-in-law, Terry Richardson of Sidney, for the race and the two women finished together with big smiles on their faces after climbing up and down an elevated rope net.
“The ice pit, oh my God it was so cold,” Midlane said.
Taking part for the first time, Richardson said, “I think we’ll try to get more people involved next time.”
That sentiment echoed what Bernays was hearing around the fields at Juan de Fuca. While the number of participants was down slightly from last year, the amount raised was up a modest amount, which shows the fledgling fundraiser is heading in the right direction.
“It’s a great event. People love it and they are definitely excited for next year,” she said.