Registration for this year’s Highland Yard will open next week, and event organizers say they have something special planned to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary.
A fundraiser in support of local nonprofit Places for People, the Highland Yard traditionally encourages participants to raise pledges ahead of gathering for a large, in-person race across the Highlands. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has had to switch gears a little bit, transitioning to a more personal event.
That will continue again in 2022, with participants having the option to complete a 2k, 5k or 10k run/walk in their own time. Registration opens June 1, with people having two months to complete their circuit.
While long time organizer Jack Russel said he would have loved to stage an in-person event again after a three year absence, he said the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and provincial restrictions earlier this year when planning forced his team’s hand.
“We just weren’t sure how things were going to unfold. It takes a lot of time to get the planning into action for this event. We’ve been there before (planning an in-person event that had to be cancelled) so we decided to play it safe and do another virtual run,” Russel said.
Now that things have calmed and people have, for the most part, returned to normal day-to-day life, Russel said he’s been able to plan an after party of sorts in recognition of Highland Yard’s 50th birthday.
“We’ve been trying for the past three years to celebrate… The first running of the Highland Yard was 1971, so while this will be our 52nd event, we’re calling it the ‘50th year of running’. We just want to squeeze in an opportunity to celebrate and mark the occasion,” Russel said.
A celebration will be held at Abbey Gardens Sept. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Following back-to-back record-breaking years, where Highland Yard has raised more than $30,000, Russel said he’s keeping his fingers crossed for another mammoth total in 2022. In the 10 years that Places for People has run the event, Russel estimated they have raised more than $150,000.
“So, what do we do with that money? Right now, Places for People is evolving and changing the way it operates. It’s moving from managing single dwelling units to larger scale multi-unit buildings… Places for People is stepping up to provide a much-needed service to the community,” Russel said.
The organization currently owns and manages seven units across Haliburton County. In recent years, management has been working closely with Dysart township on a large-scale development on Wallings Road (now affronting Halbiem Crescent), while further community projects are in the works.
Following 11 successful years at the helm of the local event, Russel will be passing along stewardship of Highland Yard to Rotaract Haliburton Highlands. All proceeds raised from future events will still benefit Places for People.
For more information on Highland Yard, or to register visit highlandyard.ca.