Photos by Chung Chow
Giving the positive “thumbs up” gesture, Jared Hulme sports an accompanying wide smile as the last of the participants in the 2019 Steveston Icebreaker 8K crosses the finish line.
It’s nearing 10:30 a.m. on what is emerging as a postcard winter day on the West Coast. The kind of day perfect for such an activity.
“With the amazing weather, the event couldn’t have gone any better,” says Hulme, the energetic race director of the annual popular road race.
Doubling as a fundraiser for the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club as well as KidSport Richmond, the race is the second in the 2019 BC Road Championship series presented by BC Athletics. But it’s due to the hard work of Kajaks’ members, led by Hulme, that the Icebreaker stands out.
As recreation leader at West Richmond Community Centre, Hulme sees each day as an opportunity to help build his community. He also spends a considerable portion of his after hours giving back, including efforts to raise the profile of the Icebreaker. With the support of the City of Richmond, the Steveston Community Centre, and local businesses like the Steveston Bakery, Starbucks, Pure Water, Dave’s Fish and Chips, and the Pizza Factory, the event truly reflects the partnerships that Hulme and his colleagues have strived to achieve.
“Running events do more than promote a healthy lifestyle,” says BC Athletics technical manager Clifton Cunningham. “They build communities and provide economic impact for local businesses. It’s great to see how the Icebreaker has grown.”
As with every successful venture, people make the difference—the Icebreaker being no exception. Individuals like Rachael Maika, Russel Sean (the owner of the local fitness club who came out to energize the 8K runners), and Jordan Cluff are also taking the idea of community partnership to the next level with their participation in the event.
A teacher at AB Dixon Elementary and Kajaks’ coach, Maika volunteered her time to lead a fun warm-up for the kids prior to the inaugural Kids’ 1K which was made possible by the sponsorship of New Balance owner Cluff, who clearly recognizes the importance of giving back to a longtime tradition and, in turn, supporting youth sport.
“It was so awesome to see the impact the kids’ run had on the community, from the participants to the parents to the volunteers,” says Hulme. “To see all those smiling kids and parents, and the Icebreaker runners ‘high fiving’ post-race makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
He was further gobsmacked speaking about the volunteers—which in the end numbered near 100.
“Both races are entirely volunteer-planned and executed,” he notes. “We had 376 runners for the Icebreaker—a new record—and 51 children (many parents ran alongside their kids in the inaugural New Balance Kidsrun 1K) and we estimate easily over 1,000 people came through the community centre for the run expo and new Kids Zone. And the McMath leadership class came out to help with the Kidsrun.
“We had support coming from all directions. The event has truly become a Steveston community event.”
Added Kajaks’ president Garrett Collier, “As a community-focused club, we’re always excited to host these types of events. The Icebreaker is fun and a chance for us to showcase not only our sport, but our amazing Kajaks’ family of volunteers. We’re excited to see where this event could go in future years.”
Clearly, it’s been a good day, with the forecast for more just like it.