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Marathon a great way to get fit and help others

Archie Louis was semiretired, new to Victoria and looking for a way to keep active, get connected with his new community and help others. What Louis, a transplanted Calgarian, finally selected was to train and run in the Good Life Victoria Marathon.
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The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon kicks off in Victoria.

Archie Louis was semiretired, new to Victoria and looking for a way to keep active, get connected with his new community and help others. What Louis, a transplanted Calgarian, finally selected was to train and run in the Good Life Victoria Marathon. And giving back was something he could do with what is now called the Times Colonist Charity Pledge Program.

As well as raising his own fitness level, it helped introduce him to Victoria, and it benefited KidSport Greater Victoria, a charity that helps kids from poorer families with grants to help them play organized sports. KidSport was the charity Louis selected for his own pledge drive as he trained for the half-marathon portion of the Good Life Victoria Marathon.

"For me it was a win, win, win," said the 58yearold marketing and advertising man, who last year raised $11,475 in the pledge program, making him the event's top earner.

This year's Good Life Victoria Marathon is the 33rd race, but it is the seventh year the race has been coupled with the charity pledge drive.

"We want the participants to not only make a personal commitment to train and make sure their body and mind is ready for the event, but also to give back to the community," said Cathy Noel, general manager of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon.

Last year, the Charity Pledge Program raised $180,000. Since 2006 it has raised a total of $792,000.

Noel said this year, various charitable organizations were selected to offer a wide choice to each participant or donor.

The marathon attracts between 11,000 and 13,000 runners and about 1,500 volunteers help put it on. It happens on Oct. 7.

In addition to the full marathon, there is also a half-marathon, an 8 km road race and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run.

Participants and runners in all races and levels are encouraged to come up with a donation for one or more of the listed charities.

Anyone interested in making a donation or offering a pledge can find full details at runvictoriamarathon.com.

Besides KidSport, the other charities supported this year are: B.C. Cancer Foundation, B.C. Schizophrenia Society (Victoria branch), Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Mental Health Association (Victoria branch), CFAX Santas Anonymous, CHOICES Adoption and Counselling, HepCBC Hepatitis C Education and Prevention Society, Lifetime Networks Victoria, Mount St. Mary Foundation, MS Society of Canada, NEED 2 Suicide Prevention and Support, Pacific Centre Family Services Association, Recreation Integration Victoria, the Arthritis Society, the OCTA Collective Society, Threshold Housing Society, USC Canada (Run for Biodiversity), Victoria Brain Injury Society and Victoria Women's Transition House Society.

rwatts@timescolonist.com