The beginnings of Boogie the Bridge

More than two decades have passed since 62 runners laced up in the inaugural Boogie, but founder and organizer Jo Berry is showing no signs of slowing down

Boogie the Bridge is now old enough to rent a car.

It can go to a show — any show — at the Blue Grotto. It can buy a beer in the U.S. 

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It is 21.

More than two decades have passed since 62 runners laced up in the inaugural Boogie, but founder and organizer Jo Berry is showing no signs of slowing down.

Berry said the event, now a staple on the Kamloops calendar, was born during a dark time in her life.

“The biggest catalyst for me was in 1998,” she said. “I lost my mom to depression. She took her own life. I was 32. It was a huge traumatic event, for sure, but it was also a huge time of growth for me.”

The first Boogie was built on the same foundation supporting the event today: Movement is change. Berry and four others modelled the event after the Vancouver Sun Run.

“It’s evolved since then,” Berry said. “It was an all-women’s event the first year and men wanted to come. We were like, ‘Yeah, of course.’

“I didn’t really have a vision. I wanted to make some money for the community.”

That she did. Boogie long ago established itself as one of Kamloops’ premier annual fundraising events.

“I think, after the first year, it was more a vision of helping more people,” Berry said. “It’s always been about service — always.”

The atmosphere surrounding the event and Run Club, Berry’s other running-related passion, is infectious, according to members.

“My wife started RunClub a few years before I did,” Jeff Ovington told KTW. “She was just hopping up the stairs like a bunny rabbit. It got me so excited about it. I started running and I started volunteering.”

Ovington said he was sold when he met RunClub instructors.

“They were normal people,” he said. “They came together as one and supported one another. What it showed me was that experience that really gave me the freedom to really free my mind, my body and my soul and just enjoy the Boogie training for what it is: Movement is change.”

Last year, about 2,900 participants laced up for Boogie — 18 shy of the record set the previous spring, but beyond the wildest expectations Berry may have had in 1998. 

Berry said she hopes the event continues to grow.

“I think if we get the right pieces in place, it could be even more of a signature event for Kamloops,” she said.

“The event and the training program, I don’t doubt we could have 5,000 people in Boogie in the next five years and, beyond that, who knows?”

Berry is clear, though, about what she wants to see.

“For Boogie, my vision is to have 5,000 to 6,000 people,” she said.

“All the red, the sea of energy, the fans on the course. It’s a great event. It’s got a lot of potential — we just need outside energy to make it a signature event for Kamloops.”

NEED TO KNOW

The 2019 Boogie The Bridge will be held on Sunday, April 28, beginning and finishing at McDonald Park on the North Shore.

Boogie will be held on the North Shore in 2019 and 2020 due to the West Victoria Street construction project, a two-year endeavour that is scheduled to begin this spring.

Boogie training clinics will begin the week of March 11.

Boogie offers four distances: 1-kilometre, 5-kilometres, 10-kilometres and 21-kilometres.

For more information and to register, go online to boogiethebridge.com.

Kamloops This Week’s coverage of Boogie will begin on March 8 with the weekly diaries of three participants in the event.

Follow their eight-week progress in each Friday print edition and online at kamloopsthisweek.com, from March 8 through to April 26.

© Kamloops This Week

 

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