Running for a better world Orleans runners KICK Poverty

Zia Nathoo’s red shoes hit the snowy pavement as he accompanied a team of runners down Centrum Boulevard in Orleans, a suburb in Ottawa. He knew the runners were doing more than just getting fit; they were also helping improve life for communities overseas.

With every step, they are raising money for World Partnership Walk, Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s annual campaign to fight poverty in Africa and Asia.

Zia has always appreciated that people run for different reasons, but he realized that not many knew about World Partnership Walk. So he decided to raise awareness in the running community.

Through Zia’s leadership, his local Running Room store – which sells shoes and other gear for runners – soon became a platform to raise awareness and funds for World Partnership Walk. Zia joined the Running Room community in May 2016 through its Run Club, which offers a series of clinics for runners who want to improve their technique and build stamina.

Julie Gooch has been running for three years. She is an instructor for the half-marathon clinic at the Running Room. She started with the clinic’s 5K runs and worked her way up to the half-marathon, where she met Zia.

“We are running anyways and love donating,” said Julie.

She was inspired by Zia’s brief speech at an open run, and joined his fundraising team. She believes a lot of women in Canada take for granted the health support they receive when they have a child. As a mother herself, she said she can’t imagine what it would be like to become a parent without this support.

Julie is keen to expose her young son to community events that also give back. “We are going to do it as a family, my husband, son and I,” she said.

The store’s manager, Judy Thomson, has been involved with fundraising through the Running Room for 13 years. She oversees and participates in bake sales, bottle drives, trivia nights, popcorn movie nights, and a chili cook-off every February.

“Whatever money we collect goes to the charity,” Judy explained.

When Zia approached her, she agreed to help with World Partnership Walk, adding it to the long list of charities the Running Room is involved with.

She recalled one of the fundraising highlights they do every year: the chili cook-off. “We had 10 pots of chili. We had volunteers make the chili for us, and whatever the donations were that were given – could be two dollars, ten dollars, twenty dollars – all went towards the Orleans Runners KICK Poverty team,” she explained.

This year, Zia’s team aims to run 25,000 kilometres collectively. They encourage donors to challenge them in exchange for donations to World Partnership Walk.

“We are a group of people running for a purpose,” he said.

The Ottawa World Partnership Walk is June 3. Funds raised support development programs in Africa and Asia undertaken by Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC). These programs tackle the root causes of poverty, addressing challenges in areas like health, education, and gender equality.

Be part of Canada’s largest movement to fight global poverty!

Join thousands of passionate volunteers and fundraisers across Canada, and help change the world.

Funds raised support development programs in Africa and Asia undertaken by Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC).

By Iliyana Shoushounova, Ottawa, ON.

Iliyana is one of our awesome World Partnership Walk volunteers, working on the Ottawa marketing and communications volunteer team. When Iliyana is not studying journalism, she is lending her communications and writing skills to the Walk, helping to inspire others to get involved to end global poverty!

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.