Dr. Doug Clement and his wife Diane’s remarkable legacy includes the launching of the Vancouver Sun Run and the Harry Jerome International Track and Field Meet. Now, the legendary couple’s latest project has the potential to make another lasting impact on their province and beyond.
The Clements and their Achilles International Track Society will host inaugural the 5-km Rainforest Trail Run on Saturday, Sept. 29 in Burnaby.
Similar to the Sun Run, all ages and abilities are encouraged to be part of the non-competitive event that will take participants through the scenic rainforest trails of Central Park. The course will start and finish at Swangard Stadium where a day of activities to celebrate and recognize the Indigenous culture is planned.
“It was probably a year ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and came up with the idea,” smiled Doug. “You have reconciliation going on and all this other stuff. It’s an uncomfortable position as it doesn’t do much other than to point how guilty everybody is. We wanted to do something that would bring everybody together.
“We are going to feature Indigenous culture, music, dance. We’re hoping to build it into sort of a festival, ultimately. We are bringing both communities together. Instead of saying we apologize, let’s do something together to show we are real neighbours and friends.”
The Rainforest Trail Run being held at Central Park was an easy decision. There was already an excellent relationship with the City of Burnaby thanks to the Harry Jerome Meet at Swangard and the park offers all the required amenities for a festival environment with no road closures required. The Skytrain is also nearby.
“It's a perfect location. There is a magic about a forest. Our exposure to nature has an amazing effect on us. That falls into the spiritual side which our Indigenous figured out a long time ago,” added Clement.
“Right now we are looking to get started by just getting our foot in the door. The Vancouver Sun Run started with 1,500 people. I don’t see this happening overnight but a five to 10 year project getting up to speed.
“I would love to see this become a festival that people will come to Metro Vancouver to actually get involved in. Then invite Indigenous from Alaska to Peru. That’s the dream.”
Richmond News publisher Alvin Chow also volunteers as marketing co-chair for the Achilles Track International Society. He has been involved in the planning of the Rainforest Trail Run from the beginning.
He says race registration can be done on the Trail Run website.