Penticton Kidney Walk adds new timed run event

Professionals invited to clock in for five- and 10-km runs for a good cause this Sunday

Eighty-five per cent of B.C.’s population say they would register to donate a kidney, yet only 18 per cent have.

Local organizers are hoping to increase that total during Penticton’s Kidney Walk and run scheduled for Sept. 22 at 10 a.m.

There will be a five-kilometre fun run, as well as five- and 10-km pro runs that will be timed thanks to Kelowna’s Running Room bringing their clock.

Annik Lim, volunteer with the event, said it’s only called a pro run because it will be timed. The event begins at Riverside Village and goes to the bridge by Coyote Cruises down the channel and back. The 10-km distance takes runners near Warren Avenue and back. Maps of both courses can be viewed by visiting http://kidney.akaraisin.com/Common/Event/Home.aspx?seid=6705&mid=8

One of the participants, Leslie Zednai, is a kidney organ donor of 23 years. She decided to participate as she’s friends with Lim and wants to support the event. She said being on a kidney donor list just made sense.

“I would have no use for organs after the fact and I can help someone,” she said.

Zednai said it’s important for people to become more aware of being kidney donors and that they can make their wishes known on the Internet.

“Help educate people and answer their questions,” she said.

Theresa Atkinson, a board director and Interior representative for the Kidney Foundation, said they are using the Kidney Run to attract more kidney donors.

“If you died tomorrow, you’re not registered, would you donate your organs,” asked Lim, adding that they want to eliminate the waiting list.

Lim and Atkinson said if 85 per cent of B.C. were kidney donors, there would be no waiting list. Due to their efforts in the Okanagan, the numbers are higher than the provincial average.

As for number of participants, Atkinson said they would like to attract between 100 and 200 runners. Atkinson said anybody can sign up with regular registration being $35 until Sept.19 then bumping to $40 on race day. Kids 13 and under are $15. People can register online at http://kidney.akaraisin.com/Common/Event/Home.aspx?seid=6705&mid=8. At the event, registration begins at 9 a.m. and the event starts at 10 a.m.

The organization also has a goal to raise $60,000 and so far is at $14,005.