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

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

Trail Smoke Eaters owner awaits word on BCHL future

Smoke Eaters owner Rich Murphy is hopeful that the BCHL will return to the ice in the fall

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

Most Read