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Inspiring the young at heart

Don Fennell   Aug-17-2018

Richmond's Gwen McFarlan (centre) consistently proves that age is only a number. The world-renowned runner will be taking part on the Forever Young 8k Sept. 9 at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Submitted photo


“We may be old but we are forever young at heart.” —Richard Gere

Though written and recorded more than a half century ago, “Young at Heart” has become more than simply a pop standard. It has inspired a timeless message.

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A million seller in 1953 for legendary crooner Frank Sinatra, the tune’s lyrics deliver a positive message: “And if you should survive to be a hundred and five, Look at all you’ll derive out of bein’ alive, And here is the best part, you have a head start, If you are among the very young at heart.”

John Young was apparently listening.

A retired school teacher, Young has long been extolling the virtues of an active lifestyle. Six years ago he came with a plan to further advance the theme.

“I have an idea,” he told his wifeJoan, to which she groaned and replied, “Oh-oh.”

Of the hundreds of local road races, Young realized that no one had ever thought to have an event specifically for seniors 55 and over. Thus, the Forever Young Club, a local group of similarly-motivated local walkers and runners, took the opportunity to organize such an event and the Forever Young 8k was born.

As outlined in its annual brochure, there are many senior walkers and runners in our communities, Young says.

“This event is a chance for them to gain well-deserved recognition for their commitment to fitness. The Forever Young 8k celebrates active seniors, setting an example to encourage all seniors to adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

Young, who for a decade organized the Terry Fox Run in Richmond, is confident that as the years go on, the event will become even more popular and a fixture in the Greater Vancouver running scene.

The 2018 Forever Young 8k is set for Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Richmond Olympic Oval, starting at 9 a.m. And it will almost certainly draw many returning participants, including Cate Gage.

Gage was so pleased to be able to partake last year, she penned a heartfelt thank you.

“I am new to running and find huge events to be intimidating,” she wrote. “The volunteers and participants in your run were supportive, inspirational and so much fun. We were also thrilled to learn about your sponsor, Verve, and hear about their services. Your event was not only enjoyable but it was also extremely educational. We plan to make this an annual event and hope that we are able to take advantage of your free registration (anyone over the age of 90 may sign up for free) in a few decades.”

All participants in the not-for-profit Forever Young 8k, which is sanctioned by BC Athletics, will receive a dry-fit tech t-shirt and a medal to show the grandkids, and afterwards may rejoice in food and beverages while enjoying ‘60s music from Radio LG 104.3. There will also be many vendors on site of interest to seniors, with up to 100 draw prizes available for lucky patrons. All age group winners will receive a bottle of quality B.C. wine, and the most senior finisher will receive champagne.

This year’s charity of choice is The Dream-On Foundation for seniors, similar to Make-A-Wish for young people.

To sign up for this year’s event, or to learn more, visit website or pick up a brochure in the Richmond Olympic Oval lobby and register right away.


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