Skip to content

Coal Country was walked, run and biked through in Estevan, photos

Coal Country Run had runners, walkers, cyclists, mini-milers and their families enjoying the event all together after a two-year break.

ESTEVAN - Even though Mother Nature put a lot of effort into flooding the area, local runners and bikers of all ages took the challenge and were rewarded for their commitment.

On a chilly morning for the Coal Country Run on May 14, not only did the clouds that have been covering the Estevan area thin up, but even the sun made an appearance to cheer the participants.

The event was a fundraiser for Fresh Air Fitness. Debbie Knight, who runs the Estevan outdoor gym alongside Peggy Rohatyn, said that numbers were down a bit this year. Nevertheless, they still were able to have a great day and attract some funds to maintain and develop the popular attraction known throughout the province.

They had 49 registrations for the five-kilometre run or walk, 25 registrations for 10-km run or walk, and 10 cyclists registered for the 20-km biking part of the event. The mini mile portion of the Coal Country Run saw record participation, with 19 young athletes having their names down for it. The short run for the kids was called Chase the Triplets this year, as the little runners were trying to catch up with the Stephany triplets - Renee, Rachelle and Gabrielle. And while a few adult runners didn't show up on the day of the event, all younger participants were there in time to join their run.

"The youngest mini miler is 23 months old. And I know that because it's my little great-granddaughter," said Knight. "She did the whole thing, and then she was still running in the mud puddles after that. They all had fun. It was great."

The 2022 Coal Country Run's fastest female five-kilometre runner was Jill Desautels with 29 minutes and 22 seconds. The fastest male runner was Jordan Duff, who covered the five-kilometre route in 21 minutes and 33 seconds. Duff was also named the fastest overall runner.

For the 10-km run, the fastest female was Natasha Tinant, and her time was 53 minutes and 38 seconds. The fastest male runner was Levi Rosenbaum with 50 minutes and six seconds. Rosenbaum was also named the fastest overall 10-km runner.

In the 20-km bike ride, Roberta Derosier was the fastest female, and Kevin Mortenson was the fastest male cyclist.

They hoped to see a bit more interest in the cycling event, but probably since it was the first time and also due to the weather, there weren't too many people joining.

"We had a good day even in spite of Mother Nature, she was being a bag lately. We believe those people that showed up enjoyed themselves. We enjoyed ourselves and I think everything turned out pretty good," Knight said.

Weather and a two-year break they had to have due to COVID affected the general participation, Knight assumed. While they still organized the run over the past two years, it was different from the traditional Coal Country format. Knight said bringing the original event back wasn't too difficult on their side, as they have a really good working group.

"We've got a real good core group of volunteers and it is a real team effort. We've got some that have been helping out with this for years and years. And they know what they're doing."

"And another thing is we had [Southern Plains Co-op] sponsor a whole lunch and provide everything for us. It's just so generous and amazing that they do that."

Seven vendors showed up for the indoor part of the event. OM Yoga provided the stretching before the run, and Re-charge Massage Therapy Studeo provided that service afterwards. 

Money raised through the event will be used to maintain and upgrade Fresh Air Fitness. Even though they didn't have as many participants, they received some good donations throughout the year including a bigger one from Kingston Midstream. And compiled with funds raised through other efforts last year, Knight said they should be good to go ahead with all their projects this summer.

Besides, they are already planning for the next sports event. The second Force Competition will be held on July 23 at Fresh Air Fitness and the registration is now open.

Knight noted that this year they have teams of two, and they've got a male category, a female category and a mixed category which would be one male and one female.

"It's a good challenge. There are so many people doing so many things. This community has just blossomed as far as fitness opportunities out there. And that's great. That was our goal when we started [Fresh Air Fitness and events around it] to make our community healthier and give them a place where they can go to [for that] and that's free," Knight said.