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Toronto Carnival Run celebrates culture and diversity

Running is freedom, says Dione Mason, and that’s why she wanted to create a race to celebrate her cultural roots that aligns with Carnival in the Caribbean that celebrates freedom and emancipation. She did just that when she founded the Toronto Carnival Run in 2016.

“Running is much like that — freedom,” she says. “The freedom to move at your own pace and level of accessibility without judgment. Running/walking is also the most accessible form of exercise. Therefore, it made sense to marry these two concepts together.”

The Toronto Carnival Run is Canada's only accredited Caribbean-inspired run that was founded and directed by Mason — Canada's only Black female race director.

She has created a special event that encourages people to get into the carnival spirit and celebrate Caribbean culture, community, and diversity.

This year, the Toronto Carnival Run will be offered as a virtual event with run/walk distance options of 5K, 10K, and a 1K kid’s run scheduled to be run July 24 to Aug. 23.

To encourage participants, there will be prizes based on fundraising goals, costumes, and social media involvement.

“Each year, many have gotten creative in decorating their faces and/or wearing carnival apparel while running,” Mason says. “We will also be giving out Best Running Carnival Costume for an individual and team.”

All participants of the 2021 Virtual Toronto Carnival Run will also receive a race kit, with pickup and shipping information available at the event website.

“It is very important for those participating in the 2021 Virtual Toronto Carnival Run to stay connected and share their experiences on social media,” Mason says. “This helps lift the spirits of so many that may have limited access and/or feel discouraged in these unprecedented times. When people see others of various ages, genders, races, cultures, and abilities participating, it brings us all together during times of great division.”

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