The inaugural Duck and Run challenge is part of the anniversary celebrations that marked Ducks Unlimited Canada’s 85 years of conservation in 2023 across the country. It all began for us in 1938 and, to our surprise, it all began in the same year for one of our Duck and Run participants. At 85 years old, Kathleen Diener joined the Wascana Lake event with her family of enthusiastic outdoor runners.
Making it a three-generation affair, Kathleen was accompanied by her daughter, Tania Diener, and granddaughter, Tandi Steenkamp. A medical health officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Tania knows that nature goes hand-in-hand with mental and physical health.
In fact, the family members have run together in Regina for years despite the seasonally challenging weather—amazing when you consider that they made their way to Canada about 25 years ago from sunny South Africa.
“Everyone in our family walks or runs,” says Tania. “My mom and dad used to take part in the five-kilometre Wascana Park run here weekly.”
In her fiftieth year, Tania and her husband, Jan, started running marathons. A decade later, they’ve clocked about 150 full marathons, on top of many half-marathons and shorter-distance runs. Their extensive training often takes place at Wascana Lake, the 930-hectare (2,200-acre) urban greenspace where the Regina event took place.
Wascana Lake park is larger than the combined areas of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Toronto’s High Park and New York City’s Central Park. Runners traversed a fraction of the park’s extensive pathways, including those bordering the scenic lake itself.
Kathleen works hard to remain active, and Tania appreciated the one-kilometre option for her mom to join the challenge. It was a chance to have fun, drink coffee and bond with her family, she says.
“Being active outside is hugely important in the wintertime most of all,” Tania says. “For my mom, winter is a bit more challenging, so we make sure we walk arm-in-arm together.”
Duck and Run is an all-ages run to support nature conservation in communities across Canada. Everyone is welcome to join for a five-kilometre or one-kilometre fun-run or walk, or a 10,000-step virtual challenge. The event supports nature conservation efforts in rural and urban communities and will help keep Canada’s vital wetlands healthy.
Building on years of success in Manitoba, the autumn event launched as a national fundraiser in 2023 with sponsorship from Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Canada. Already a conservation partner, the outdoors retailer expanded its commitment to Canada’s great outdoors with a three-year pledge to help grow the fundraiser. More than 550 runners joined the challenge across the country.
“It was lovely to walk at the lake with my daughter and granddaughter for such a worthy cause,” Kathleen says. “And seeing everyone—including the geese and ducks—enjoying the sunshine.”
With so many passionate supporters, it’s no surprise that an inspiring, outdoorsy family emerged at the Regina event to champion the conservation cause and demonstrate that active time spent outdoors together boosts connection and quality of life.
Looking ahead to next year, Tania hopes to include her older daughter, who also runs marathons, in another three-generation family event. We think that’s a good running start to more years of healthy outdoor fun together.
Run, walk or waddle—everyone is welcome.
What may seem like a few cows dawdling across a grassy landscape is, in fact, part of an increasingly high-profile conservation agenda.
It wasn’t just waterfowl flocking to Canada’s wetlands this fall—people did, too. Some went the extra mile to raise awareness and funds for our country’s threatened ecosystems.
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