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Moncton group puts ‘smiles on faces’ by hosting weekly run in city’s downtown – New Brunswick



Moncton group puts ‘smiles on faces’ by hosting weekly run in city’s downtown - New Brunswick

As a recent uptick in crime has drawn concern for many living in Moncton, N.B., a group of active residents are lacing up their running shoes in hopes of reminding the surrounding community what positives the city has to offer.

Jenna Green, the founder of La Run Gang, organizes a weekly run that takes participants through riverfronts, nature trails and the streets of Moncton’s downtown area. She said her group has about 15 to 20 people involved per week.

“I think it’s important for us to keep showing up. It’s important to stick together and show other people how great downtown Moncton can be,” Green said of the meetups.

The group gathers outside an espresso bar in downtown Moncton every Tuesday before venturing out into the city.

Green said she likes to regularly switch up the group’s running route.

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“I do a lot of running on my own too, so sometimes when I’m out there I think, ‘Oh, this would be a great route,’” she said, adding that she incorporates feedback from friends and the group’s members when mapping an upcoming route.

Sam Belliveau, who grew up in the Moncton area, said he joined the group to socialize with other runners while exploring more of his backyard.

“I think when I was younger, I didn’t go downtown too often. I feel like I’m just discovering downtown more,” he said.

“The group’s awesome…. A lot of people in the group have different goals, distances, speeds, preparing for their first event or something like that. A lot of the training (for events) can be doing more solitary stuff so joining other people with common goals is a nice thing to do.”

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Belliveau said he enjoys the variety of sights that are incorporated into the weekly runs.

“I like mixing it up and exploring the town,” he said.

‘It’s nice to put a smile on somebody’s face’

Dominique Comtois, another participant in La Run Gang’s weekly excursions, said the group hopes to bring more positivity to the lives of those living in the area.

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“Last week, I heard somebody cheering for us on my right and when I turned my head, I saw somebody who was less fortunate than us but still with a smile and running,” he said.

“It’s nice to put a smile on somebody’s face. We come with a smile and if it can be contagious for a little bit, then we did our part and helped our downtown with a positive attitude.”

Comtois said he joined the group when it first launched to interact with like-minded runners in his area. He’s been involved ever since.

“I like the city…. There’s nothing more scenic than the waterfront. This is where I like to run,” he said.

Green said her weekly running events are beginning to attract more people from outside the city — introducing participants to lesser-known areas of Moncton and changing perspectives along the way.

“What’s been really interesting for me is when we have new members come in from other areas, they’re already surprised with where we’re running. So many times, I’ve heard people say … ‘I never knew this existed, I’m going to be running down here more often,’” she said.

“I think people are quick to pass on downtown Moncton when it’s actually really beautiful and there’s a lot to see.”

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As for safety concerns, Green said she rarely feels intimidated journeying through the Moncton streets with her crew of runners.

“I think the most threatened I felt is when I’m crossing Canadian geese,” she laughed.

“I love the people in my community; they’re really important to me.”

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