The Robert Campbell Bridge between Riverdale and downtown Whitehorse will be closed this Sunday. But not for long.

The bridge will be closed for approximately 10 minutes around 1 p.m. as over 1,000 runners and walkers make their way across its surface.

This will mark the start of the 14th annual Run for Mom—an event that takes place each Mother’s Day to raise funds for breast health awareness in the territory.

In the lead-up to the big day, Athletics Yukon has been coordinating a free set of six-week learn-to-run and learn-to-walk workshops to get Whitehorse residents excited about lacing up their running shoes

Tracey Taylor is one of the volunteer leaders of the beginner runner group.

“Athletics Yukon put a call out to its members trying to solicit more program leaders,” she explains.

“They were worried that unless several more people stepped forward they would have to cancel the program. It’s such an amazing program that I couldn’t let that happen so I volunteered.”

Taylor says it has been an interesting and rewarding experience.

“I have never led something before and there’s been a bit of a steep learning curve for me.”

Taylor has been conducting a run-walk program to prepare the beginner group for the event.

“I find that I need to hold myself back in the run sections to pace properly for my group, but then in the walking portions they are all faster than me! It turns out I walk very slowly,” she admits.

“I would love to volunteer again next year, but I would consider working with the intermediate group so I could keep up to them throughout all components of the weekly practice.”

In addition to the beginner and intermediate running programs, a walking program is also on offer to participants.

“The walk leaders are fabulous,” says Taylor, “they keep their group so motivated and enthusiastic, and I’m pretty sure some of them could outpace some of the runners.”

All three groups range in size between eight and 20 participants and their numbers seem to fluctuate with the weather.

“The recent snow dampened some spirits,” says Taylor, “but even then we still had a dedicated group out training.”

One of the program participants who is taking part in the beginner running group points out that she’s been meaning to do this running program for years and finally this year had the chance to follow through on that goal.

“I had to,” she laughs. “I may have accidentally signed up to compete in the 5 km run at the Senior Games in August.”

She adds, “I’m a swimmer and when I went in to sign up for the games they said to me, ‘You’re a swimmer, which means that a 5 km run for you will be no problem at all’ and I foolishly believed them and checked the box on the registration form.

“I know better now, but now that I’ve committed to it I’m going to see it through—I might even run the full 5 km on May 13 just to prove to myself how far I’ve already come in my training.”

Taylor says it’s unlikely that all of her first-timers will run for the entire 5 km on Mother’s Day, but she has no doubt that they all will finish and she’s proud of their efforts to date.

“They’ve all improved so much and it will be really exciting to see them achieve their goals during the big event,” she says.

“I think I’ll invite my mother to join me for the run. It’s such an important cause and it feels like the right thing to spend part of Mother’s Day doing.”

If you would like to get involved and support Yukon women join the group of excited runners at the S.S. Klondike on May 13.

You can also get involved with fundraising for the event by picking up a pledge form or making an online donation on the Run for Mom website, www.runformom.com.

What could be a better Mother’s Day gift than that?

Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected].