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Saskatoon runners kick in cash to support new leg of Meewasin trail

The Saskatoon Road Runners Association (SRRA) has made a $250,000 donation to the Meewasin Valley Authority to support the newest section of trail.

The Meewasin Trail is over 107 kilometres long, with more than 2.3 million visitors a year to the Meewasin Valley.

“Sincere gratitude for the SRRA’s generous donation, recognizing the club’s crucial role in advancing the mission to conserve the river valley and create safe and enjoyable access points in Saskatoon’s natural spaces,” said Andrea Lafond, CEO of Meewasin.

“The collaboration between Meewasin and the SRRA is a shining example of how partnerships between organizations and communities can lead to meaningful and lasting positive outcomes.”

The donation has gone towards the southwest trail section, which was recently converted from a road to a trail.

“There's now a new SRRA node out at the southwest section,” said Lafond. “Which we're hearing is two and a half kilometres exactly from the canoe club, which creates a nice run and a great stop for water as well.”

The SRRA, which started in the 1970s to emphasize healthy bodies and minds, is a non-profit that operates many of the running races each year, which includes the Saskatchewan Marathon — one of the longest-running marathons in the country.

“We were doing a successful job at the marathon making some money, and we're a non-profit organization,” said Peter Goode, president of the Saskatchewan Road Runners Association. “So we knew we had to somehow use that money for something else.”

Over the past few decades, the SRRA has donated more than half a million dollars to the Meewasin Valley Authority for various projects including the Canada Trail expansion near Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

“It’s not just runners; we're always walking into somebody that is using the trail and enjoying it,” he said. “We thought, if we're going to put our extra money that we have into something, let's make it the MVA trail, and the MVA, the whole philosophy of the MVA.”

A 2014 trail study estimated that by 2050, up to 2.5 million visitors a year would come to the Meewasin Valley Trail.

Lafond says community support is necessary to expand.

“We're seeing 2.24 million and we're only in 2023, so our need to expand trails to keep up with that demand is significant,” Lafond told CTV News. “It makes us proud that our community is using the trail system for their betterment, but costs have increased.”

The Meewasin Valley Authority’s fundraising campaign for this year’s Giving Tuesday includes continued enhancements to Kiwanis Park and a project to plant 10,000 trees, shrubs and native plants in 2024. Top Stories

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