The Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting a feature run in conjunction with the Island Series under the umbrella of the Vancouver Island Race Association (VIRA). As you can see our run is sponsored by us (AVCOC), Ridge View Health & Performance with support of Sun Six Creative Agency. And our participants will also have opportunity to purchase a delicious beverage at the end of their achievement provided by DOG MOUNTAIN BREWERY. Best of all, the funds raised through this event will be redirected to Kids Sport Port Alberni.
The run, formerly known as THE PAPER CHASE originated in 1982 under leadership from two employees of Catalyst Paper Mill. The two fellows were determined to find a way to improve health, wellness and fitness of their colleagues so they developed a 10k run along the Log Train Trail. They approached management of Catalyst who initially agreed to sponsor the event. Unfortunately, the organization soon changed their minds and pulled the sponsorship leaving the two fellows to fend on their own and cover the already inherited costs associated with putting on the event. Shortly after getting the bad news the guys then approached the Credit Union (not sure what they were known as at the time) for support. They were successful.
The run lasted for several years but eventually ceased operations due to lack of volunteers and support. It was then resurrected for a short period of time around 2000 but failed again.
In 2016 when I (Bill Collette) was developing the No. 7 Challenge, also a 10k running event, I learned of the Paper Chase and also learned of VIRA. I reached out to VIRA on the off chance that they would include the No. 7 Challenge in their series. The timing of the No. 7 Challenge didn't work for the series, but they then informed me of a need to add one additional run to their series so under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce we jumped at the chance.
We hosted the return of THE PAPER CHASE at Cherry Creek Community Hall for each of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 with the first one being a certified 10k run - out and back. Then via request from VIRA we changed the run to become a 15k which we hosted in each of 2018, 2019, and 2020. Note that the 2020 run was done days before the pandemic was announced.
We did not host the event in either 2021 (no one did for that year) or 2022. For 2022 we (I) was uncomfortable hosting such an event when it was possible that we would be required to exclude some participants.
In mid 2022 I reached out to local organizations to see who might be willing to take the lead for the future of the run as ideally it should be hosted by an organization more tied to running and/or general health and wellness. In the summer of 2022 Sasha Visona owner of Ridge View Health & Performance joined the Chamber of Commerce and shortly thereafter approached me about a potential partnership for the run. Subsequent to that we met and agreed to hand over the torch for the runs after the upcoming one in 2023. Sasha then encouraged me and the VIRA board to reconsider the 15k approach and bring it back to the more popular 10k concept. When that happened, we then realized that we should rebrand the run and relocate it to the McLean Mill National Historic Site (MMNHS).
Registrations for 2023 are through the roof! In fact, it's very possible that we will see upwards of 600 participants in the 2023 race through the rolling roads in Cherry Creek. Our run will start near the train platform at the MMNHS then exit onto Smith Road heading south. The run will follow Smith/Debeaux/Batty until it ends at Cypress Road. From there it follows Cypress to Best turning right toward Kitsuksis. After another right on Kitsuksis the runners will then turn left onto Batty and head back towards the MMNHS. They will cross Smith Road just past the first tracks and then enter the MMNHS on the back access road. The finish line is located between the mill itself and the blacksmith shop near the bridge. Like the rest of the runs this one is a certified 10k run meaning it is guaranteed to be between 10000 and 10010 meters in distance. World records could be achieved on this run.