Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation and Nature's Emporium are preparing for the 11th annual Run for Southlake, with fundraising already underway for the April 30 event.
Representatives from Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation, the mayors of Newmarket and Aurora, and the CEO of Nature's Emporium gathered at the Newmarket store to officially launch the 2023 Run for Southlake.
Jennifer Ritter, CEO of the Southlake Foundation, said last year was her first in-person run since joining the foundation and it was so amazing to see hundreds of participants on the race route along Davis Drive. She said she hopes to have more than 1,000 participants this year.
"It’s a tangible expression of your passion for all things community and for keeping out communities healthy and thriving and we are all truly grateful,” she said.
Ritter walked the route last year alongside Nature's Emporium CEO Joe D’Addario and the pair said they proudly came in dead last and plan to do it again this year.
“When we first started running this race, my goal was to come in first, now my goal is to come in last,” D'Addario said, joking that he's been training to do just that.
He said that in the 11 years his company has been the title sponsor of this run, more than $2.5 million has been raised. He wants that total to reach more than $3 million after this year's Run for Southlake.
Nature's Emporium has been in the plaza at Yonge Street and Mulock Drive for 30 years and the store has evolved overtime.
“It’s such a great community, I couldn’t ask for a better community to be with here in the Newmarket-Aurora area,” D'Addario said.
When he first began sponsoring the event, he said he wanted it to become a tradition in town and now, after a decade, he feels that it is.
Funds raised from the Run for Southlake go toward purchasing state-of-the-art equipment, creating improved spaces, and filling critical care gaps at the hospital.
“We see day to day the difference that is made when the community shows up to fundraise for our hospital,” said Barbara Steed, executive vice-president of clinical services at Southlake.
She said this is beyond meaningful for all the clinicians at the hospital and added that they also get see the run first-hand as the route takes racers right by hospital.
Registration is now open for the 2023 Nature's Emporium Run for Southlake on April 30. You can sign up online to participate in the five-kilometre walk/run. It costs $50 to sign up ($25 for youth under 18) and participants are asked to raise $100 ($50 for youth).
As of Jan. 25, $573 has been raised.