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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A word from the new editor

Aaron Hemens is editor for the Creston Valley Advance

Creston’s second annual 7th Siding Film Festival to return next week

Organizers opened their doors to international filmmakers, resulting in 1,000 entries from around the world

Creston police report: Aug. 3 to 10

Local RCMP received 106 calls for assistance

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

Nelson’s American sister city faces COVID-19 culture war

In Sandpoint, Idaho, wearing a mask is about Black Lives Matter, gun rights, and COVID-19

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read