The story behind Cops for Cancer...
It all began with one small gesture...
In 1994 Gary Goulet, an Edmonton Police officer, heard a story about a young boy who, as a result of cancer treatment, had lost all of his hair. The young boy was being ridiculed by other children because he was bald. Gary Goulet rounded up other Edmonton Police officers and they all shaved their heads, picked up the youngster in a cruiser car, and drove him around showing him and all the children that made fun of him, that being bald was cool.
Thus, Cops for Cancer was born.
Since 1994, Cops for Cancer has grown to be a national program that has become the largest 3rd party fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. To date, over $11 million has been raised.
The story behind the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon...
It all began at a kitchen table...
After several years of leading the Winnipeg chapter of Ironcops (a group of police officers and civilians who train for the Ironman Canada triathlon while raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Cops for Cancer program), team leader, Nick Paulet, had an idea to create a Winnipeg Police Service half marathon as a fundraiser event. After several light-hearted discussions, often at his kitchen table, with fellow team leader, Jean Roch, a decision was reached to give it a shot and plan a small race for the spring of 2005.
Thus, the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon was born.
For the inaugural race held in May, 2005, it took 13 dedicated committee members over 6 months to plan the event. Each committee member was backed up by an additional 2 – 3 volunteers from the Ironcops team. On top of that, an additional 100 volunteers pledged their time for the event on race day.
Initially, Nick and Jean had hoped that the race would attract at least 200 runners in order to ‘break even’. Five weeks prior to the race, a decision was reached to stop accepting registrations as over 1000 participants had registered.
In 2005 over $37,000 was raised for the Canadian Cancer Society.
In 2006 the event continued to grow again with over 1500 participants registered. The race committee also introduced the 2 person relay to the race. Over $70,000 was raised.
Since that year, the race has continued to grow both in number of participants and donations raised for the Canadian Cancer Society. The WPS Half Marathon race committee is proud that the race they have created has quickly become a cornerstone on the Manitoba running calendar. More importantly, this event serves as motivation for hundreds of people who wish to change their personal lifestyles and encourage a healthier option for physical activity. The WPS Half Marathon was the first event of this size to keep the course open longer to encourage and allow all runners and walkers to complete the course. To date, no person has been left on the course.
Preparing for this event has its share of challenges. As this event grows in size, the committee is diligent to ensure that the reasons this race became so popular for its runners and volunteers are not sacrificed in any way. The race committee strives to continue to provide a great race for a cause close to their hearts. Finding inspiration is easy on race day. It is not unusual to see a participant with a name of a relative or friend who they have lost to cancer pinned to their shirt. They run in their name. It is not unusual to hear stories from participants how they have survived their own battle with cancer or are running for someone close to them. Every medal placed around runner’s necks at the finish line is put there by a cancer survivor, and in some cases, people who are still fighting. They are the volunteers who wear the yellow survivor shirts.
It is the inspiration that we all see on race day that gives the WPS Half Marathon committee the drive to plan for the next year event once the finish line has been taken down.