The History Of The Calgary Women's Run.
The Calgary Women's Run is one of the oldest women's runs in Canada, and an historically important event for women in sports.
In 1979, the Calgary Roadrunners Club was contacted by Bonnie Bell Canada (a cosmetics company in Canada & the United States) regarding a new series of 10 kilometer runs for women. Bonnie Bell Cosmetics and Avon were leaders in the push to get long distance running (marathon) into the Olympics.
The Calgary Roadrunners Club, a progressive group of runners, who were always on the look out for ways to encourage distance running among men and women in the community decided to add the event to their schedule of events. Marg Carleton was asked to take on the Race Director position.
The Bonnie Bell series was held in seven cities across the country during the summer. The first place winners were sent to Boston for a 10K Championship that included Canadian and American winners. That first year Jacqueline Gaureau of Montreal (winner of the Boston Marathon in 1980) and Shauna Miller (a top Canadian middle distance runner from Edmonton and the winner in Calgary) represented Canada in the championships.
The first race in 1979 was a huge success with women of all ages in Calgary. The philosophy of the race from its inception has been to encourage women, young and old, to be physically active all their lives. They were seen as a non-threatening way for women to join in the running boom, a stepping stone to mixed races. For the competitive runner, they provided a chance to test yourself against other women.
The first years of the run in Calgary brought out all the great runners of the day. Shauna Miller, cross country skiers Joan Gouthyson and Shirley Firth, Donna Dixon, Janice McCaffrey, Beth Elana Evanoff, Val Chauski... Over the years there have been many great battles waged on the course around North Glenmore Park and countless women have run their first race with us.
In 1984, the series changed hands and RMP Athletic Locker (Brooks Running) took over the series. At that same time we forged a partnership with The Forzani Group. Another partnership was formed in 1990 with the YWCA of Calgary. We started donating a portion of the entry cost to the YWCA for programs that they supply to disadvantaged women and girls in the community.
In 2001 when Mary Ann Clark assumed the job of race director, a concerted effort was made to encourage the participation of young women runners, to introduce them to road racing in a fun and supportive environment.
In 2003, our 25th anniversary, J.Vair Anderson, Jewellers joined us as a major sponsor of the 5.5km run and Susan Mullie joined the race direction team.
Now, as we approach our 35th anniversary, directorship has changed hands several times as has sponsorship and chosen charities. However our partnership with the Forzani Group (Tech Shop) and the Calgary Roadrunners Club has been enduring and we thank them for this.
Join us on Sunday, August 25, 2013, for the 35th running of the Calgary Women's Run!
CWR Race Committee