Left to right, Darcy Walters (Jumpstart Community Partner), Glenn Hascarl (Town of Comox Fitness Instructor), Mandy Johns (Town of Comox Recreation Director) and Katie Maximick (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation) pose on spin bikes with cheques from last year’s Spin-a-Thon at the Comox Community Centre.

The 6th Annual Spin-a-Thon returns to the Comox Community Centre on Saturday March 4 with a whole new look to support healthy lifestyles for our community’s young and young at heart.

Usually a 24-hour spin bike marathon, this year’s Spin-a-Thon format has changed to be more convenient for participants and their families.

“The format for this year’s event has changed, with the event spanning only 12 hours,” explains Darcy Walters, a local Canadian Tire Jumpstart Community Partner and Spin-a-Thon organizer. “It will be easier to get a team together, and a team of six could easily pull off riding two hours each.”

“There is also a variety of added features this year, like stretch classes, a BBQ, activities for kids and coached spin sessions that will add to the excitement of the Spin-a-Thon.”

All proceeds from the Spin-a-Thon will go to support Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program to help local children participate in sports, as well as to the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation via the Take Heart and Breathe Well Exercise Program for local residents who suffer from chronic heart and lung conditions.

Both JumpStart and Take Heart & Breathe Well give Comox Valley low-income residents and families the opportunity to play sports or attend vital wellness programs that can prevent substantial health issues in the future in a fun and active way. Last year Jumpstart funded 375 Comox Valley children to participate in organized sports totaling $65,000, while the Take Heart and Breathe Well exercise program saw 58 participants in 2016, of which 16 were subsidized totaling $6,384 to take part in the cardio-pulmonary wellness program.

“By partnering together for this event Jumpstart and Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation aim to encourage healthy lifestyles for young and old of all backgrounds in our community, while bringing teams together in a fun, family-friendly way,” says Katie Maximick, Communications and Fund Development for Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation. “Heart health is important, not just for seniors, so helping kids get involved in sports at a young age and keeping at-risk seniors educated and active impacts our community as a whole and lifts us all up.”

“Jumpstart is once again grateful to the Comox Recreation Centre for hosting this community event,” adds Bert Heeringa, owner of the Courtenay Canadian Tire. “Events such as this Spin-a-Thon make support for kids in need possible, and it’s also a really fun event.”

Last year’s Spin-a-Thon raised over $15,000 for Jumpstart and Take Heart & Breathe Well, and organizers are hoping that this year’s event sees even more teams and sponsors support the growing annual event.

Recreation Director Mandy Johns is proud that the Comox Community Centre will host the event, as it has from the beginning, “We are so pleased to see it evolve and are really excited to work with our community partners.”

“The Spin-a-Thon is something everyone can do, not just avid spinners,” added Walters. “It’s a social event, and by sitting on a stationary bike for an hour or more you can’t help but make conversation with those spinning next to you.”

“There’s good music, good company, you’re raising money for a good cause and it has the added benefit of exercising all at the same time.”

The 6th Annual Spin-a-Thon is Saturday, March 4 from 6am to 7 pm at the Comox Community Centre. Team registration is now open and there are sponsorship packages available. To sign your team up, sponsor or donate a prize, call the Comox Community Centre at (250) 339-2255 or email Alycia at amaskiew@comox.ca