Uniting Cape Breton’s Youth: Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run Returns to CBU

In 2005, alongside the inception of the Cape Breton Fiddlers Marathon, the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run emerged as a non-profit event that ignited a passion for running in the hearts of Cape Breton’s youth. For years, until the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause, this vibrant run took place in downtown Sydney. With restrictions easing last year, the Youth Run was able to make a triumphant return and found a new host location at Cape Breton University (CBU).

This year’s Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run will take place on Sunday, June 4, 2023, at the Cape Breton Recreation Health Complex (CBU). The two kilometre and four kilometre runs will start at 10:00am and the Tiny Tot Trot will begin at 9:30am. 

Katherine MacQueen-Burke, Director of the Youth Run, says the transition didn’t come without its challenges. “After a few years of not hosting the event and shifting to a new location we encountered some learning curves,” she says. “Thankfully, Cape Breton University stepped up as an incredible partner and supporter, guiding us through the changes. We are thrilled to announce that this year’s run will once again take place at CBU.” 

For Katherine, the Youth Run holds a personal significance beyond simply giving back to her community. “This run holds a special place in my heart,” she explains. “Witnessing so many young individuals having a blast while staying physically active is truly heartwarming. I’m also thrilled because our own two children will be participating in the Tiny Tot Trot this year.”

The Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run serves as the grand finale for many students across Cape Breton who participate in The Kids Run Club, a free and engaging program that promotes physical activity among more than16,000 children and youth in the province. The Youth Run not only motivates Cape Breton participants, but also fosters a sense of celebration among runners and spectators alike. 

Dr. Leisha Hawker, President of Doctors Nova Scotia, expressed her excitement for sponsoring the event. “We are thrilled to sponsor this event and help support young runners in Cape Breton,” says Dr. Hawker. “The event encourages children and youth to enjoy being outside and active together, helping them build healthy habits that they will carry into adulthood.”

Among the participants in this year’s Youth Run are two individuals whose stories exemplify the transformative power of running, Conor Chiasson and Elle MacDougall.

Conor Chiasson, a CBU student and member of the Capers Men’s soccer team, has been intimately involved with the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run and the run club program since his younger years. Inspired by his father, the late Robbie Chiasson, who served as the Capers Men’s soccer coach and an enthusiastic advocate for the Kids Run Club, Conor developed a love for running early on. Robbie’s dedication to coaching and nurturing the youth run club instilled in Conor the values of commitment and perseverance. Robbie’s legacy lives on as Conor continues to embody the spirit of the Youth Run.

Elle MacDougall, a promising athlete and incoming member of the Capers Women’s soccer team, hails from the tight-knit community of Georges River. Growing up, Elle’s involvement in the run club through her elementary school was instrumental in shaping her love for running. Encouraged by her parents, who actively promoted physical activity, Elle discovered the myriad benefits of an active lifestyle. Running not only improved her physical fitness but also served as a source of enjoyment that she shared with friends. Elle’s dedication to sports and the life lessons she learned, such as hard work, teamwork and establishing healthy habits, have been foundational in her journey toward becoming a varsity athlete.

As the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at CBU approaches, the stories of Conor Chiasson and Elle MacDougall serve as inspiring examples of how participating in the Youth Run and related programs can shape the lives of young individuals. Conor’s resilience and connection to his father’s legacy exemplify the transformative power of sports, while Elle’s passion for running and dedication to a healthy lifestyle highlight the positive impact of physical activity on personal growth.

With more than 800 enthusiastic children already registered for the run, the anticipation grows as more participants are expected to join in the coming days. The Cape Breton Victoria Regional Centre for Education (CBVRCE), Canadian Tire, YMCA, Riverview Soccer Club, Superstore Sydney River, CBRM, CBU security and Sentry Security join Doctors Nova Scotia and Cape Breton University in supporting this memorable event. As the excitement builds, the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at CBU promises to be an unforgettable celebration of youth, community and the joy of running.

To register for the race, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2023/73601/doctors-nova-scotia-youth-run