Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns and Mackenzie Loyer at an annual race through the Cumberland Forest called the “Cumby.” (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Port Alberni teen runner challenges Trudeau to race

Mackenzie Loyer has invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Paper Chase in Port Alberni

A young Vancouver Island athlete is challenging Canada’s prime minister to a race.

Mackenzie Loyer, 16, has issued a challenge to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to run in the annual Port Alberni Paper Chase, scheduled for March 8 at Cherry Creek Community Hall.

Loyer first came up with the idea after seeing Tofino listed as one of the 20 best places in the world to visit by CNN.

“I know [Justin Trudeau] always goes to Tofino with his family,” said Loyer. “In order for him to get there, he has to go to Port Alberni. It would be cool to see him stopping along the way, helping out our community and bringing more awareness to Port Alberni.”

READ MORE: Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

READ MORE: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stops in at Alberni Valley airport

The Paper Chase is a 15-kilometre race, the fifth race in the Vancouver Island Race Series and “not too bad” in terms of difficulty, says Loyer.

This will be Loyer’s third year competing in the race series. Last year, at age 15, she won first overall in the 16-19 year age category. Loyer, who is currently in Grade 11 at Alberni District Secondary School, also runs with the ADSS track and field club.

READ MORE: Alberni teen wins 2019 Vancouver Island Race Series

Loyer started running in 2016. Her very first race was the No. 7 Challenge, where participants run against Port Alberni’s steam train and end up at McLean Mill National Historic Site. At 12 years old, she won the 23 and under division.

“[Running] can be very challenging,” said Loyer. “But being able to push through the pain, and knowing I can do anything—that translates to all aspects of my life. I can push through the tough times and get to the better times.”

But her competitive nature is not the only thing driving Loyer to issue a challenge to Canada’s prime minister. She also cares deeply about Port Alberni, and feels that the town is often ignored.

“I really think we need to start promoting Port Alberni,” said Loyer. “Port Alberni’s in the shadows. It’s a great town. The trails are beautiful, the lakes are beautiful. It’s just beautiful scenery here. We really need growth to get better as a community.”

One person who has encouraged Loyer in her racing career is Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns. Loyer first met Johns when she was volunteering with the Triconic Challenge back in 2017.

“It was my first time meeting a real politician,” Loyer explained. “I’ve come to respect him not only as a politician, but as a friend who encourages me at the races I attend and cheers me on. He just really wants to bring change to Port Alberni.”

Alana Brown, Loyer’s mother, said that Johns reached out to the family with a phone call after hearing about the challenge.

“He said he wouldn’t be able to attend, but he called her to wish her the best,” said Brown. “He’s such a big support for her.”

Loyer has not yet heard back from Trudeau or his office, but she’s hoping the prime minister will take up the challenge.

Port Alberni made national news last summer when a pair of young men from the small Vancouver Island city were involved in a Canada-wide manhunt. Loyer is hoping to change Port Alberni’s reputation.

READ MORE: Port Alberni fights bad reputation in international media amid manhunt for wanted teens

“Port Alberni received some bad press last summer,” said Loyer. “I would like the people of Canada to know that we are a community that cares about each other.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Justin Trudeau

Just Posted

Hospital’s Chief of Staff asks residents for help containing COVID-19

Invermere & District Hospital Chief of Staff says COVID-19 cases here, caution and care needed

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

Burning restrictions to lower risk for COVID-19

Province issues burning restrictions to help everyone breathe easier

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read