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April 7, 2020 | How the Natural Runners Brought a Light Touch to the Story of Natural Resources

Stewart Muir is founder and executive director of the Resource Works Society, a Vancouver-based group open to participation by British Columbians from all walks of life who are concerned about their future economic opportunities. He is an author, journalist and historian with experience on three continents including a financial editor of The Vancouver Sun responsible for mining and markets coverage. Since Resource Works was established in 2014, the group has gained international recognition for its practical approach to the public challenges of responsible natural resource development and use.

The annual Vancouver Sun Run attracts 50,000 entrants each April for a festive 10 km race. Sadly, in 2020 there won’t be a race due to the pandemic. However, here’s some good news.

While there won’t be a Spring 2020 sighting of the Resource Works Natural Runners, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. Here are some highlights of their races from years past. Enjoy.

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The Making of the Natural Runners

The Natural Runners concept was hatched back in 2014, when Resource Works had just launched. We were looking for ways to get noticed with our ideas about how important natural resources are to the lives of British Columbia residents.

The conversation went something like this…

“How about we imagine what things would be like if we didn’t have any natural resources?”

“We’d be…naked…?”

This being Vancouver, we were also aware of the annual Sun Run, which over the years has grown into much more than another 10 km race. It is a cultural scene where some run in costume, and for many residents its mid-April timing is the signifier that summer is on the way.

Here’s the first sketch that came back from a designer:

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Intriguing…

After a little more work, we got a live model to come in and show us what it could look like in practice:

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Nailed it!

We decided to give it a shot, and the first Natural Runners was scheduled for Sun Run 2014. It was a hit. We ran again the next year, 2015, this time with four runners instead of three. Once again, the event went off with extensive audience appreciation.

A lot of people remarked on the positive tone of our campaign. That’s true, because unlike the familiar pressure group campaigns seeking to stop our beneficial natural resource projects, this was about getting to the root of the real issue, which is: How do we protect the environment while at the same time ensuring that people can acquire the things they need?

Since then, time has flown by. Spring never arrives without somebody asking, “So…are you planning on the Natural Runners again this year?” Thus far, we have not repeated the program as there is so much else we have to do. We hope to bring the effort back again one year soon. Fortunately, the imagery from past efforts lives on. In lieu of Sun Run 2020, here’s a jog down memory lane…

2014 video:

2015:

Photos:

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April 7th, 2020

Posted In: Resource Works

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