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They did the dash, they did the Monster Dash! Sunday, October 29th Sunnybrook Park

Photo Credit: Good Times Running

A wise person once said, “The only way you’ll catch me running is if someone is chasing me!” A wiser person hears about the Monster Dash and can’t wait to run! Or walk.

On Sunday, October 29th, batmen, princesses, ninja turtles, and other characters will participate in the sixth annual Monster Dash in Sunnybrook Park. While costumes aren’t mandatory, there are tons of prizes for best get-ups worn by kids, pets, adults, and groups.

Kids 12 and under can run or walk the Spooky Mile (which is actually far more fun than it is spooky) on their own or with their parents. And as race director Peter Donato points out, “What’s a Halloween run without candy?” Yep! On the Spooky Mile there are candy stations. But don’t worry, older runners, there are 5K and 10K courses with candy stations too.

The event starts with the Spooky Mile at 4:30 (when it’s still light out for the kids’ run), with the 10K and 5K starting at 5:30 and 6:00 respectively. Runners in the longer races are encouraged to bring their own lights to avoid ghouls and zombies along the way. And all runners young and old(er) get a bag of goodies at the end of the race. Kids get a finisher’s ribbon and a goodie bag, while 5 and 10K participants receive monster medals, lots of goodies, and a huge, cozy, fleece blanket.

Ninja Turtles Runners. Photo Credit: Good Times Running

Photo Credit: Good Times Running

There will also be free face painting and lots of other activities in the Monster Dash room at the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) right up the hill from the race. A post-run party will also be held at the OSC with food, drink (yes, it’s licensed), and a myriad of themed games for all ages.

And for those who’d like to take in the fun without participating in the race, organizers encourage spectators to cheer on the pirates and ghosts, and volunteers to assist along the route. High school students are encouraged to earn volunteer hours.

Donato expects approximately 1,200 runners to take part in this year’s Dash and says that past runs have seen runners from across Ontario participating.

But this event isn’t only about exercise, fun, and candy. Over the years the Monster Dash has supported various charities including the World Wildlife Foundation and Holland Bloorview.

Runners in costume. Photo Credit: Good Times Running

Photo Credit: Good Times Running

This year, 100 per cent of pledges will support the Ontario Science Centre’s Community Access Programs, including the Adopt-a-Class program. The program, which has been running since 2009, brings classes of kids from Toronto’s underserved neighbourhoods to the Centre to explore, learn, and discover science in the most interactive, informative, and inspirational venue. Through the program, classes receive transportation to and from the Centre, full-day access to all exhibit halls, and a 45-minute school program.

According to Catherine Paisley, OSC’s vice president, science education & science experience, the Centre works hand-in-hand with both the TDSB and TCDSB to “identify schools where the students have an opportunity gap.” Last year alone, the program served approximately 30,000 students. And the impact is great. A Grade 5 teacher from Carleton Public school commented, “I hope that the sponsors understand that their generous assistance enables schools, such as ours, to attend and participate, which would otherwise be unlikely. Such experiences are truly priceless, and will remain long in my students’ memories, emotionally and educationally.”

To get in touch with your inner monster and register for the Dash, visit: www.monsterdash.ca.

For more information about the OSC’s Adopt-a-Class program, visit: https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/adopt-a-class.