Ugly sweaters will be spotted all over Kamloops this Sunday during the annual Brennan's Ugly Sweater Run, albeit in a slightly different form.
"It's a little different this year because it is virtual; we wanted to keep it going but make it accessible," says Payton Comazzetto, the event's founder and coordinator, explaining that runners will be encouraged to find their own, socially distanced route around town.
Comazzetto started the run in memory of her brother. Brennan was 10 years old when a drunk driver hit him while he was riding his bike. The run raises money for the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops, helping support things like the Power Start program, which helps feed children breakfast in Kamloops.
"It’s not a funded program. The only way they can keep it going is through community support and fundraising," Comazzetto explains.
She notes the club was able to get nearly 5,000 meals out this spring; on some occasions, staff drove the food to kids, due to the pandemic.
"When I heard that stat, I thought I can’t not support them this year," she says. "That’s pretty unreal."
Now in it's fourth year, the run has raised just shy of $28,000 for the club. Last year was the biggest, with more than $13,000 donated. This year, the goal is $15,000.
"We’re halfway there already," Comazzetto tells Castanet. "With everything going I on, I didn’t expect people to donate as much."
So far this year, 250 people have registered for the altered event. Instead of gathering at one site to run, people will run between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Dec. 6 and share their experience.
Moving to a mixed digital/physical event has meant registrations aren't limited to Kamloops; Comazzetto can list off a bunch of places outside city limits where participants have registered, including Victoria, Edmonton, Ireland, Sweden and Australia. While some have connections to Kamloops, others she's not sure about. One hundred per cent of the money raised will go to Kamloops kids, she says.
Comazzetto notes that fundraising isn't the only goal for the run; she wants mental health to also play a role. To that end, there's a Spotify playlist that's been created to go along with the run, and she encourages people to call others while out for their walk and share photos of their experience.
Money is being raised in two ways: through donations and through registration. People are being asked to register by Saturday; they can register as an individual ($15) or a family ($40). Pets ($8) are also joining in on the fun this year.
Prizes will be handed out like any other year, with ugliest sweater, ugliest group photo and ugliest sweater on a pet all likely to be competitive categories. Local businesses have donated prizes. Comazzetto says that was an important component, since it's what the run is known for. Anyone who donates or registers will also be entered into a draw.
For more information, or to donate or register, click here.