Getting your butt in gear: the Balanse Bum Run

On Sunday, I joined the 6th Annual Balanse Bum Run, in support of colorectal cancer awareness.  It was such a well-organized and fun event that I’ve already marked it on my race calendar for next year.

The Bum Run is a non-profit that was founded in 2011 with the mission of raising awareness about the need for screening for colorectal cancer.  This type of cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer among men and women in Canada, despite being highly preventable and also treatable if found early.  Oddly enough, Ontario has one of the highest rates of the illness in the world. 

The key is prevention.  Physicians say that 90% of cases can be avoided if people follow the recommended guidelines for screening and prevention. 

Founder of the Bum Run, Dr. Ian Bookman

With such an important mission, it’s perhaps no surprise that the atmosphere at the run was fun and welcoming, as these official race pics show.  Prior to the 5 km distance, children got to race in a 1 km Little Bums run.  Totally cute.  How can you not smile seeing little kids giving it their best and then wearing medals that dangle to their knees?

The cheerful crowd was a great offset for what started out as gloomy weather.  Prior to the race, I huddled under a blanket on the couch, watching radar images of the weather, thinking of the volunteers that were out there setting up.  Thankfully, the rain was long gone by the time we started, although the wind was blustery heading east and south.  

Radar at race start time. 

Radar 1.5 hours earlier, while I ate breakfast - not promising!

I loved that this race was right in my neighbourhood, starting at Queen’s Park.  That meant I could get up at a regular time, eat and jog over as a warm-up.  There was a real diversity of participants, from walkers to racers, including strong representation from MB Performance.

Looking at my own performance, I’m disappointed that I did not achieve my goal, which was to run sub-18:00.  Instead, I crossed the line at 18:55, which is slower than my 5 km race last month.  

Thanks to Nathan Monk of the Pride Run for this action shot.

What happened?  It’s hard to say.  I slept and ate well prior to the run, feeling strong going into the race.  I went out with confidence and passed a handful of folks going north up the incline of Spadina Avenue.  Unfortunately, heading east along Bloor, I heard footsteps behind me and I was eventually passed.  I welcomed having someone else break the wind, but didn’t keep up.  Over the 5 km, I was generally about 10 seconds slower than the minimum pace I needed to run.  

But enough about that.  

Following the race, participants got to tour a walk-through inflatable colon (really) and snack on free pancakes.  (That's possibly the first time I've referred to a walk-through colon and pancakes in the same sentence.)  

Exploring the colon....

Returning to the whole point of the race, this afternoon, organizers announced that the event had so far raised $52,000 for the six recipient charities.  That is wonderful news and will make a life-changing impact across our city. 

The Bum Run is a well organized, friendly and centrally-located race for anyone in the downtown core and by taking part, you're improving the lives of people in Toronto.  Kudos to the volunteers and organizers on a job well done.  See you next year!

Pre-race mingling on the lawn at Queen's Park