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Photo courtesy Dave Holland

Dino Dash in danger of going extinct

By Tori Taylor, September 6 2019 —

Dino Dash – a 5-10 km road race – was started by two university students back in 2004. It’s been a staple part of University of Calgary culture ever since. It has dramatically grown over the last 15 years and is currently at risk of no longer being an annual event. The race offers fundraising for Dinos teams, and is a source of funding for competition opportunities, uniforms and scholarships. Since its’ inception, there have been over 10,000 race finishers and $121,292.46 raised for Dinos teams.

In 2010, the University put a policy in place to more stringently control the amount of external events that use campus roads. The number of participants and the time and day of the year will now be regulated by the university — as well, they have the right to refuse any race or event at any time. Thankfully, Dino Dash has bypassed this policy with grandfathered privileges. But the U of C is now declaring that Dino Dash 2019 is to be the last year with granted access to campus roads. 

“Dino Dash isn’t an external event — it’s a University of Calgary one — it was founded by then current students and Dinos (who are now proud alumni), and exists solely to support University of Calgary athletes and community. That notwithstanding, we have been told we are not welcome on campus after this year’s race,” states Kirsten Flemming, the executive director of the Run Calgary & ScotiaBank Calgary Marathon, in a public call-to-action email. “Before folding the event, we want the larger University of Calgary community to understand that the University revoking Dino Dash’s permit on campus puts the existence of the event and its fundraising at risk, as the Foothills Track as a start/finish venue isn’t an option without campus access,” Flemming further explains. 

Dino Dash needs secured access to campus roads if it is to continue past this year. If this race is not able to utilise Foothills Stadium like it has for a decade and a half the Dinos teams will lose a significant amount of annual funding. There was $20,000 raised in support of U of C track and field and cross country programs, last year alone.  

Dino Dash is a celebratory event for university athletes because it offers a stage for potential students to compete in a five-kilometre or 10-kilometre race. It is open to runners who are not students and supports active living within the community. As well, this race gives the University of Calgary Campus Recreation, Health & Recreation and Outdoor Centre Programs’ a chance to complete their mandated clause to “promote healthy living and to provide expertise, programming and facilities to the campus and to the city of Calgary.”

“We’d like to continue organizing the Dino Dash on campus for the foreseeable future and

ask that you help us make that a reality,” says Flemming. “We invite you to meet with us to discuss our concerns about the policy and whether the University may consider continuing to grandfather the Dino Dash going forward. It may be worthwhile to note that the policy itself provides that the University will revise its policy “when necessary.” We think that time has come.” 

Thankfully, with Flemming’s passionate efforts to keep Dino Dash running annually and the support behind her petition, the U of C has agreed to meet and discuss continuing Dino Dash. 

We are pleased to hear that the University of Calgary is reconsidering its position on The Dino Dash,” Flemming’s stated in email correspondence with the Gauntet. “We heard from The President’s Office a couple of weeks ago and other members of the administration that we would be sitting down in September after this year’s event to find a way forward. It’s an important community event that creates campus culture and healthy active living while supporting student athletes and we look forward to working with UCalgary to see it continue for many years.”

Dino Dash will be held on September 9 and if you haven’t registered to run, this may be your year to support Dinos athletes and contribute to keeping the fundraising event in play for many more years to come.

 



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