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New West runner’s fundraiser is her version of the New York Marathon

New Westminster resident Vanessa Woznow is once again running across the whole city in support of Family Place.
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On Saturday, Feb. 17, New Westminsterite Vanessa Woznow is running her “New West Neighbourhood Run” in support of New West Family Place.

A local mom will soon be lacing up her runners to run a half marathon that will take her through all of the neighbourhoods in New West.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, Vanessa Woznow will be running 21.1 kilometres – beginning in the Brow of the Hill and ending at New Westminster City Hall, all in support of New West Family Place. She did her first run for fun in 2018, and began doing it in 2022 as a fundraiser when her daughter was around 18 months old.

“Family Place was really, really exceptionally strong for me as a support in my first year of motherhood, especially as a COVID mom with a COVID baby,” she said. “And I know that they do that for so many families in New West and so many newcomers too, with young families.”

A lifelong runner who always loved that the New York Marathon passed through all five boroughs in New York City, Woznow hatched a plan to run through all of the neighbourhoods in New West.

“It would kind of be my own version of the New York Marathon,” she laughed. “And I did it for my birthday.”

Woznow decided the Family Day long weekend was the perfect time to raise money for New West Family Place.

“It's been so wonderful for us and it's so wonderful for others,” she said. “I just I want to just continue drawing, if I can, awareness and support to the organization because it's just like a community linchpin for New West.”

According to Woznow, last year’s run raised more than $6,000. She’s already raised $2,800 for this year’s run.

New Westminster’s hills can make it a “very hard” place to run – but there are a lot of great things about running in the city, Woznow said.

“New West is also so pretty,” she said. “I tried to do a route that really captures a lot of the great esthetic outdoor elements of the city.”

Even on a grey day – as it has been during her recent fundraising runs – Woznow said the view of the Fraser River and the mountains, while running across the Queensborough Bridge, is incredible. While running through the neighbourhoods, she said you get a sense of the uniqueness of the city’s different neighbourhoods.

“You do get the really cool feeling of each of the neighbourhoods,” she told the Record. “And you are afforded beautiful views, too.”

Making it to the top – after running up the steep grade of Holmes Street from East Columbia Street in Sapperton – comes with a deep sense of accomplishment, Woznow said.

Woznow’s runs always end at New Westminster City Hall, where she has a “Rocky montage” moment where she climbs the front steps to city hall with her daughter.

Woznow is overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support she continues to receive from folks in New West.

“It fills my heart, it fills my cup,” she said. “It's just so incredible to see people be really generous with both donations, but also just with their words. … I think they think I'm a little nutty doing what I do, but overwhelmingly it's just an outpouring of community support.”

Woznow’s goal is to raise $5,000 for programs at New West Family Place during her upcoming run – and to cross the $10,000 mark.

“I know we’re living in turbulent economic times,” she said. “Any support is greatly appreciated – and will help propel me up some pretty brutal hills on the 17th.”

Anyone wishing to support Woznow’s run can make a donation online.