Hundreds of runners laced up their shoes for one-mile races along 124 Street on Sunday.
The races were part of a campaign to bring more foot traffic to the area after construction on the nearby 102 Avenue bridge over Groat Road took a toll on the High Street and lower 124 Street shopping districts.
The two-year closure left many businesses hurting, with some claiming the lack of traffic in the area meant anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent less business. Some stores were not able to weather the storm, and were forced to close.
“For small businesses that don’t have the big bucks ability to advertise, we thought this would be a great opportunity to bring some attention,” organizer Suzanne Morter said.
The Edmonton High Street Mile is just that: a one-mile run on 102 Avenue from around 139 Street to about 50 yards short of the junction with 124 Street, right in the heart of High Street.
Morter explained that the idea to host the inaugural race came from a resident hoping it would spur much-needed pedestrian traffic in the area.
“One of the residents said, ‘Let’s bring a little more attention to the plight of small business here,” she said. “It’s the moral support and just getting people to come out to these places.”
Over 300 people participated in the events which included races for children, teens and elite men and women.
Proceeds from the races went to the Canadian Paralympic Foundation.