MONTREAL – More than 5,000 runners gathered at Parc Jean-Drapeau Sunday for the Scotia Bank 5km and 21km runs.
Susan Handrigan, vice-president for Scotia Bank’s Montreal-West and North Shore districts, ran the 5 kilometre race with her daughter and raised $1,500 for a multiple sclerosis foundation.
“It’s a race that’s twofold,” Handrigan said.
“It’s athletes from across the country and from around the world, they come to race, to beat their times. It’s also a fundraiser for different causes, so we have 66 different foundations that we’re raising money for.”
The goal this year was to raise $1.2 million.
Although organizers fell just shy of the mark with $1.1 million, the race is about so much more than money.
“I don’t even think I can put a word to describe, how that makes me feel,” Handrigan said.
“Just getting in the coral, running with everybody, their eyes lighting up. You see people with different capes, representing their cause. Makes me feel like a part of Montreal.”
There is still another four week for fundraisers to reach their goal.
Earlier this week, Global News shared the story of Ainsley Rowcliffe who had to undergo major surgery to treat cortical dysplasia. It’s a rare condition that required Ainsley to re-learn all of the basic motor skills.
WATCH BELOW: Montreal family runs half marathon for daughter with rare brain condition
The Rowcliffes ran to inspire their daughter.
“You work hard, you can achieve,” said Ainsley’s mother, Jocelyn Rowcliffe. “Ainsley has to work hard through her therapy to do simple things, she had to learn to walk, she had to learn to tie up a coat. So you work hard, you can achieve what you want to achieve.”
For the half marathon, Ainsley’s family and friends got together to raise funds for the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre where Ainsley goes for treatment.
“The MAB-Mackay is a second home for us,” said Ainsley’s father, Corbett Rowcliffe. “They’re our family. We’ve been there for 10 plus years now, and we consider it our second home and not only for us but for all the children they help. So for us to be able to participate and raise funds is key to us.”
While being cheered on by her family, Ainsley walked across the line of the 5-km run.
“She got up out of her wheel chair and walked the finish line,”Jocelyn Rowcliffe said. “To be able to have that confidence to do that after she learned how to walk again eight months ago to nine months ago.”
“She had a smile on her face from ear to ear and she will remember this forever.”
Ainsley isn’t the only one facing difficult challenges.
For Jack Hickman, it’s juvenile arthritis.
“I couldn’t run, like four years ago, I couldn’t run, I could barely walk,” Hickman said. “I had crutches for a few months. Now I can run five kilometres, it’s a big accomplishment for me.”
Even today’s 5 kilometre winner overcame obstacles.
“I just came back from injury, I’ve been injured since November, but I am glad to be back.”
If today’s race has one message, it surely must be, never give up.