Canada Running Series Director Alan Brookes says his mission as a race director for the past 30 years has been to “bring running into the mainstream.” Brookes’ underpinning philosophy is that a race can and should be part of a city’s cultural calendar, welcoming a diversity of participants as well as building and celebrating the surrounding community.
The mission continues in 2018 with the addition of the Edmonton 10K to the CRS calendar. The race also expands the CRS partnership with Lululemon, which started when the apparel retailer became the title sponsor of the Toronto Waterfront 10K in 2017.
With elements like a doughnut wall in the finishing chute and a post-race party in Bandshell Park featuring food trucks and yoga (it’s Lululemon after all), the Waterfront 10K was dubbed Race of the Year by our friends at Canadian Running Magazine.
Lindsay Harrison, Director of Edmonton Events, says that when CRS introduced the opportunity to the City of Edmonton, the latter was eager to cooperate.
Harrison says, “Through Edmonton Events, a unique partnership between the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Tourism, we were able to make the connections with our colleagues at the City to help determine the race route and civic services required to make an event like this a success.”
While cities and race organizers can be known to tussle, Harrison feels that bringing the race to Edmonton was a no-brainer. Harrison says, “We are supportive of races like this in our city as running aligns so well with the City of Edmonton’s Healthy City and Live Active strategy, which provides opportunities for citizens to be active and inspires them to adopt healthy lifestyles.”
Harrison and CRS were also on the same page when it came to blending running into the city’s cultural fabric and brand. According to Harrison, “A race with such a strong brand power and loyal following, like the Lululemon Edmonton 10K, attracts hundreds – maybe even thousands – of participants from outside the region, which ultimately creates economic impact for our city.”
CRS’ man in Edmonton is Ryan Chilibeck, west coaster and former pizzeria owner turned Prairie Race Director. Ryan’s involvement in the Vancouver running community led to the founding of the East Van Run Crew and acting as a promoter for CRS races.
Ryan is enthusiastic about Lululemon’s involvement in the race, reporting, “We knew that partnering with Lululemon would give us access to a massive audience, but I don’t think anyone expected such an natural harmony between our companies.”
Ryan adds, “Their guests are incredibly engaged, brand loyal and have high experiential expectations. We hope that bringing this race to Edmonton will introduce new runners to the sport and encourage more racers to participate in some of the other amazing events happening in the city.”
The cooperation from the City of Edmonton and Edmonton Events has proven equally fruitful for Ryan and his team with the City fully embracing the new race. While details of the race are still being finalized, one of the biggest victories thus far has been the City’s agreement to a full closure of the High Level Bridge.
Ryan says, “We didn’t know where to start when planning the course so going after a full closure of the iconic High Level Bridge was something that definitely got me excited. Crossing the bridge once is amazing, but crossing the bridge twice is unheard of!
Without spoiling any surprises, Lululemon’s Canadian PR Manager Seema Dhillon says that participants in the Edmonton 10K can once again expect a party atmosphere with festivities featuring food vendors, music, and of course yoga at the Alberta Legislature Grounds.
Like its Toronto counterpart, the Edmonton 10K will also offer complimentary race photos and enhanced cheer stations along the course. In keeping with the CRS philosophy that running is for everybody, participants can join in a complimentary eight week training program led by ambassadors across Lululemon stores in Toronto and Edmonton. “Like Toronto, we look forward to immersing Edmonton in all things run!” Seema exclaims.
The Edmonton 10K happens on July 22nd. Spots are limited, so register now!