Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation (GGSCF) complete their 15th Anniversary Relay Run from Windsor to Toronto
On August 1st, 2014 the children and youth of the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation (GGSCF) began their 15th Anniversary Relay Run from Windsor to Toronto. It was in 1999, when the youth decided to complete a similar event from Toronto to Ottawa that spanned 7 days and establish the GGSCF. The youth were very excited and the four day trek that commenced promptly at 6:00am from Ambassador Bridge looking over the Detroit skyline while it was still dark. Some of the sangat from the Windsor area showed up to greet and cheer the participants at the start of this 425km relay run.
On the first day, the participants exceeded the expectations and completed approximately 109km and finished the day past Chatham. They were warmly welcomed by the local sangat who provided breakfast and lunch and then dinner back at Windsor Gurdwara. Bhagwant Singh, the secretary of Windsor Gurdwara hosted the runners/volunteers for two nights. Additionally, the local sangat donated over $1500 to the GGSCF in support of the children that the foundation supports.
On the second day the start was a little later at 6:20am due to the extra time it took to drive to beginning where we left off yesterday, in the small town of Thamesville. As the sun rose, runners marched down the wide-shouldered Highway 2 and were full of so much energy that they would run in pairs. With great weather, a good stretch of road, and keen runners, the kilometers began to fly by and running along the Thames Rivers for some spots, by late afternoon they arrived in London.
In London, runners were greeted at City Hall by Councillor Matt Brown and the Acting Mayor of London who welcomed the runners to the city, praised them for their hard work, and even donated to the cause. Karamjit Singh and other members of London Sikh Society had made the arrangements with the local politicians and then took the runners to the Gurdwara for refreshments. The run then continued out of London through rain and finished in the small town of Thamesford.
In the evening, the runners headed back to London Sikh Society Gurdwara where they were treated to langar. The children and youth also got a chance to tell the sangat there about the GGSCF and all the things that we do, as well as the children in need that we sponsor. Upon hearing this, sangat donated very generously to the cause. The Gurdwara then provided accommodation for the runners.
The third day of the run started at 6:00am and quickly passed through Woodstock and the very quiet but scenic country roads of Oxford County. As the day progressed, it grew hotter and hotter, yet this did not deter the spirits of the runners as they continued to make great progress ahead of schedule. By noon, the runners had reached the Region of Waterloo and ran into the Golden Triangle Sikh Association Gurdwara where Gurjant Singh and members of the community were waiting at the entrance to greet the runners. The sangat at the Gurdwara was very excited to hear about our progress and generously made donations.
After langar at the Gurdwara, the runners charged through Waterloo and Kitchener and continued under Highway 401 to Cambridge. At the same time, the team on break went to the grounds at Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Cambridge where the Gurdwara had organized a sports tournament. The team was invited to attend and told those in attendance about our run and cause. Upon hearing this, many individuals pulled out their wallets and purses to donate. We would like to thank the entire Sikh community in the Waterloo Region for their support. The run continued to just past 6:00pm and finished just outside the town of Dundas. From there the runners were received at Gursikh Sangat Hamilton were they were treated with snacks and tea.
Runners began the last day with another 6 a.m. start just west of Dundas. As the sun rose above the surrounding trees and the fog began to lift, the run continued through Dundas and down into the heart of Hamilton. With a brief stop at City Hall the run continued around the harbor to Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara Sahib in Burlington. With a brief stop for breakfast the run continued and hammered through communities in Burlington and Oakville before entering Mississauga in the late afternoon.
After a lunch break in Richard’s Memorial Park, the runners crossed Etobicoke Creek and entered Toronto with the CN Tower in the skyline. Although many parts of the city were hit by downpours, the runners escaped with nothing but a mere drizzle. Coming along Lake Shore Blvd. and through the Downtown, the team passed the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, the C.N.E Grounds, and the C.N. Tower. At 6 p.m., runners ran together up University Avenue and celebrated the finale of the run at Queen’s Park. In front of the legislative buildings, organizers congratulated the participants and participants themselves shared their feelings about the run.
Overall, it was truly an experience to remember for all the participants, and one that inspired many of those who came out to cheer on the children and youth. At the same time, we think about all of our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world and find comfort in the fact that our efforts will help them. To date, just over $5000 has been collected or pledged to the GGSCF and we hope that this number will continue to grow in the coming days. The other amazing achievement of the run was that those who were young (under 10 years of age) in 1999 were now the organizers of this run 15 years later. In total 17 runners took part some were young adults/university students, high school students, the youngest was Avtar Singh (10 years of age). They were supported by 6 drivers who also volunteered their time. The run also showed what spirit there is on our children and youth, the ability to work as a team and generosity of all those who supported them along the way in this journey.
For more details visit www.ggscf.com