2nd Annual “Move Your Paws for the Polar Bear Cause” at the Toronto Zoo
1km & 5km Walk/Run
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Great Family Event!
This race organized as part of the Canada Running Series and is advertised as a Fun Run and Fundraiser specifically for activities relating to the Polar Bears.
For every “non-Zoo member” $30 race entry fee, $20 is donated directly to polar bears related activities.
For every “Zoo member” $20 race entry fee, $10 is donated directly to polar bears related activities.
As a bonus, the race entry fee included access to the zoo grounds.
Considering the cost of an off-season adult ticket is $23… that seemed like a good deal to me for a family event.
With that in mind, my 4 year old son and I signed up for the 1km run.
As this has been a terribly cold month of February, I had been watching the forecast in the days leading up to the race. The forecast actually predicted a high of -4. And after the past 6 weeks of -20 degree days, -4 seemed like a day to go to the beach.
Unfortunately the -4 wasn’t expected until mid-afternoon, and we were greeted with -15 at the start of the race.
…what did I actually expect for the month of February…?!?
Although the forecast wasn’t great, it did seem tolerable and sunny. My wife and 3 year old daughter decided last minute to join us for the event.
We parked the car close enough to the front entrance, which was where the registration packages were being distributed. I lined up to get the bibs for my son and I, and my wife went in search of the day-of registration table. The lines moved quickly and before we knew it, we were on the Zoo grounds.
There was lots of signage pointing us in the direction of the starting line. There were lots of volunteers and staff around answering questions… and before we knew it, we were ready to go.
The 5km race started at 9am, with the 1km race starting at 9:30. The last 1km of the 5km race was the same course the 1km race was using.
Some 5km racers had finished the race before we had even started, but many other 5km runners were sharing the kilometre with us. I had wondered if this would be an issue, but the roadway was wide enough and no one seemed to mind the merging of the two groups.
I ended up running the first half the race with my son and the 2nd half with my daughter. They both had huge grins when they crossed the finish line and a medal was put around their necks.
Post-race goodies included the usual granola bars, bananas and juice or water (which being -15 degrees ended up being frozen, not a big surprise or issue).
What was a really nice surprise was the hot bowl of chilli or soup, as well as a coffee or hot chocolate.
The only thing that could have been improved upon was that there was very limited seating to use to enjoy the chilli and coffee. We got lucky and found two seats in the small café, so we could put the kids down to eat safely.
After having a fun run, with lots of smiling runners, volunteers, staff, a great post-race snack, we exited the café to find zoo staff with mountain goats walking around the courtyard. They were answering questions and letting the kids pet them. Another staff had a bald eagle on display and available for a photo opportunity.
All in all, I expected this to be a cold February run. It turned out to be a great family event with lots to see and do. This was well worth the race fee as we, as a family, got more than our money’s worth.
Kudos to the organizers.