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Pitter Patter Fun Run raises more than $6000 for infant clothing in Nunavut

The second annual Pitter Patter Fun Run was more successful than the 2019 run, said Caris Madsen, founder of One Plane Away. With at least 70 runners in Iqaluit and 60 virtual participants, more than $6,000 was raised by the organization to provide families with infant clothing.

Madsen said the purpose of One Plane Away is to collect and distribute "gently" used or new infant clothing to families throughout Nunavut. This non-profit organization was officially established in 2018.

"I wanted to be able to create something that would be able to provide people and babies with something that I believe is a basic right," said the university student, referring to the clothing.

According to Madsen, this year's run was "more successful" than 2019 due to its promotion and the first-ever virtual run.

Eleven local RCMP officers came out to run 5K during the Pitter Patter Fun Run in Iqaluit on Aug. 15. Bottom row from left are, Superintendent Peter Kirchberger, Sergeant Shelby, Cst. Ryan McCarron, Cst. Greg Beauchamp, Cst. Caroline Morin-Levesque, Cst. Terrence Deng and Cst. Quentin Vander Shaaf. In the top row, from left: Cst. Daniel Keeling, Cst. Alexander Daigle, Cst. David Hubert and Cst. Tyler Arseneault. Natalie Maerzluft photo

The event was promoted within Iqaluit's RCMP headquarters. Eleven RCMP officers received permission to run five kilometres in their uniforms. They raised and donated $1,500 to One Plane Away.

"They wanted to participate in our event," said Madsen. "They did the run, they hung around. It was really nice to have them there."

In addition to promoting the event through radio, social media, posters around Iqaluit and reaching out to last year's participants, One Plane Away set up a table for promotional purposes in Northmart.

Cassidy-Ann Netser, left, Kirsten MacDonald, Caris Madsen, Sadie Pinksen and Angela Austria are One Plane Away's board of directors. All these university students along with their sixth board member Cassandra Hickey helped to plan the 2020 Pitter Patter Fun run. Natalie Maerzluft photo

Along with five board members and a few community volunteers, Madsen organized the run in Iqaluit for Aug. 15. The runners were able to choose a 5K, 10K or 21K route. "Our 5K went down Federal Road, the 10K out to Sylvia Grinnell firepits. And then the 21K was a mix of both," said Madsen.

To adhere to social distancing protocols, the runs began every hour starting at 11 a.m.

On Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, the virtual run was set up for individuals outside the territory. She added people from across Canada along with international participants from Mexico, New Zealand and the U.S. joined the virtual event.

All participants paid a $30 registration fee. Iqaluit runners received a package including a Pitter Patter T-shirt, One Plane Away bracelet, the running bib, an ice pack and either a Cliff bar or popcorn.

Madsen, who was born in Hamilton, Ont. but completed her secondary school education in Nunavut, said she was motivated to help families within the territory after noting the lack of access they had to infant clothing.

Jordan Taukie during his 10k run in Iqaluit on Aug. 15. Natalie Maerzluft photo

"When you're in a community, sometimes the store doesn't carry the stuff that you need for your child. And that can be hard and it can really take a toll on you," she said.

Anyone looking for infant clothing can contact Madsen through her One Plane Away Facebook group or contact Iqaluit's boarding home at 867-975-3390.

Nunavut News reached out to both the RCMP and Tammaativvik Boarding Home for comments but did not hear back by deadline.

"The event was very successful," reiterated the 20-year-old, adding "the organization is very dear to my heart. I love it. And I hope that it'll stay on a good trajectory."

Tina Decuto and Elaine Prusky walk over to the start line to begin their run in Iqaluit on Aug. 15. Natalie Maerzluft photo