“Tired, excited, and a lot of adrenaline – a lot of feelings at once,” was how Osoyoos Elementary School (OES) Grade 6 student Zephyr Peltier described his feelings on completing his 21 km run from Oliver to Osoyoos on Friday.
As of Monday, Sept. 25 the eleven-year-old raised $2,350 for cancer research as part of the Terry Fox School Run, exceeding his goal of $2,000.
His run which started at Oliver Elementary School around 9:15 a.m. on Friday saw him sprint into the front of OES just over three hours later, shaving a full hour off of his previous run two years ago when he was in Grade 4.
Speaking to him just before the start of his run he said: “I’m excited for the second time doing this, I really hope I don’t mess up that would be very sad.”
He was happy that even though he hadn’t started the run he had already raised $1,600. “Yeah it’s really good it’s really good to do what Terry did and like he said we need others to carry on and that’s what I’m trying to do right now,” he said.
With mom Shan and his grandpa Jim Peltier cycling alongside Zephyr, his grandmother Louise Peltier was following along in a car and responsible for keeping her young grandson hydrated.
Jim Peltier had the route all planned out and maintained a strict schedule of nine minutes running, one minute walk. After every 30 minutes, there was a one minute rest break which included hydration and some energy food.
This year was different in that he had music to run by. When asked what his favourites are he said: “Anything that has a nice beat that I can follow when I’m running. There’s a guy called Teddy Swims, he’s a new pop artist that’s mainly on TikTok and Instagram and I like him.” Shan laughed that her main job was being DJ for the run.
Zephyr’s classmates, teachers, principal, and dad Shawn Peltier were all waiting to greet him out front of the school. As he rounded the corner onto 87th Street, his fellow classmates who were holding up a large banner spotted his red t-shirt (honouring Terry Fox) and began cheering him on which saw Zephyr break into a full sprint.
“It was exhausting towards the end,” he said excitedly adding that he was starting to feel the pain in his legs and feet in the last stretch. Nonetheless, he was clearly pumped to have shaved nearly an hour off of his previous time. “I was a lot faster this year, I was almost an hour faster. I got quite a few cheers [from cars] and I just kept my pace and finished, thankfully.”
Speaking of Zephyr’s achievement OES principal David Foster said: “I’m so, so proud of him, this is the second time he has run from Oliver all the way to Osoyoos. Zephyr is one of those leaders that were so happy to have in our school. I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished."
Foster noted the school had their annual Terry Fox Run the same day which started with an assembly in the gym and then a run around the school field and grounds.
“We’re excited that if we raise over $3,000 as a school we’re going to be throwing buckets of water on teachers heads, so we’re very excited about that.” He laughs that the principal and vice principal will likely get the first buckets.
OES physical education teacher Ryan Miller praised Zephyr's achievement saying: “It’s a half marathon from there, more than 21 kms, which is remarkable, especially for a guy his age.
“I think the biggest thing about it was that he set a goal and he made a plan and followed the plan. He didn’t just get up this morning and run, he’s been training. For young people that’s awesome,” he said adding some advice relevant to everyone: “Find a passion, find something you care about something you’re ready to work towards, and go after it.”