The 36-year tradition honouring the late Evan Luker continued Friday on the grounds of Macaulay Public School in Bracebridge.
The run has been held every year since 1986. It was started one year after Luker’s died in a car accident when he was nine years old in December 1985.
All day students from every grade run the course around the school in honour of Luker who was noted for his passion for running. “It’s
exactly what Evan Luker is all about,” says Brian Andreasen, a teacher at Macaulay and one of the organizers of the run. “He loved to run. He loved to have fun.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst held smaller Evan Luker runs with just the students from the individual schools. This year marks the return of the run as it’s known to many with representatives from all the schools sprinting, jogging, and sometimes walking toward the finish line. “The buzz is just fantastic,” says Andreasen. “It’s such a great vibe.”
One of the many smiling faces at the finish line belongs to Curt Dunlop who attended Macaulay and ran in the race when he was younger. “Having his memory live on is a wonderful thing,” he says of Luker. His daughter Sylvia is one of the many that crossed the finish line Friday morning. He joked it makes him feel old but more proud to see his daughter Sylvia taking part. “It’s great to see a big smile on your kid’s face,” he says.
Sylvia, still catching her breath, says she finished 17th among the other 40 grade five girls she raced against. “It was really hard for the last bit, but the first part was pretty easy,” she says, adding she was able to run to entire way.
“It feels great to run for Macaulay and I’m really happy with how I did,” she says. Sylvia adds, while grinning ear-to-ear looking up at her father, that she’s proud to have run in the same race her dad did.
“It’s a full team effort at the school,” Andreasen says. “Seeing everyone give each other high fives and hugs, it’s just great.”
When Luker died, Andreasen was a grade five student at Gravenhurst Public School so he didn’t know him, but heard a lot about him. “Evan was a very happy, positive person that everyone looked up to,” he explains. Years later, Macaulay hands out the Evan Luker Award to students who Andreasen says are “great all-round students who help out with great communication with staff and other students.”
The run was previously scheduled to kick off on Oct. 12 but was delayed two days because of bad weather.