Angela Chalmers is one of Canada’s greatest track and field athletes. She has just been inducted into Athletics Canada's Hall of Fame. Angela is an Olympic medalist, who through hours of training, perseverance and personal sacrifice, rose through the ranks of track and field to become one of the best in the world. She is a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist earning medals at the 1990 Auckland Games and the 1994 Victoria Games in the 1,500 and 3,000 metre events. In 1992, she won a Bronze Medal at the Barcelona Olympics in the 3,000 metre event and a Silver Medal at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis in 1987. Angela Chalmers is also an extraordinary role model for Aboriginal children, who generously gave precious time to visit reserves to speak to the young people of these communities. Born in Brandon, Manitoba in 1963 to a Sioux mother and Scottish father, Angela moved to Nanaimo and then to Victoria, B.C. as a young girl.
“My mother is Sioux from the Birdtail Sioux Reservation. I am status Indian and a member of that band. But I also feel my roots on Vancouver Island because my dad was born in Victoria and my aunts, an uncle and cousins live there.”
Upon graduation from high school, she accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Northern Arizona University where she earned All-American Honours eight times and was an NCAA cross country champion. Since 1990, Ms. Chalmers lived and trained in Victoria.
Her first major national competition was the 1981 Canada Summer games in Thunder Bay. Representing Manitoba, she brought home two silver medals in the 800 and 1500 metre events. At the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, she became the first woman in the history of the Games to win both the 1,500 and 3,000 metre races.
Her greatest triumph is winning the 3,000 metre bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Angela Chalmers’ thoughts were of her late father. “My dad was a big influence in my life although he died in 1984 before the Olympic trials,” Chalmers said following the race. “I said to him when he was in the hospital that I wanted to prove to him that I could do it.”
In 1994, the 30 year old Chalmers successfully defended her 3,000 metre crown at the Victoria Commonwealth Games. In front of her hometown crowd at Centennial Stadium, she broke the Canadian and Commonwealth records, another historic achievement. She remains the only woman in Games history to successfully defend the 3,000-metre crown.
Angela has also acted as a respected spokeswoman for Aboriginal empowerment throughout her involvement with sport and has actively campaigned against drug and alcohol abuse. In 1995, she received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Sports.
She was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (2001), the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (2004) and In Her Footsteps..CELEBRATING WOMEN IN SPORT (2006)
The Rainforest Trail Run, a five-kilometre fun run through the scenic trails of popular Central Park in Burnaby, was conceived by the Vancouver Sun Run founders as a way to help stimulate physical activity among people in local Indigenous communities.
All runners are encouraged to take part, but a special focus of the initial organizers, the Achilles International Track and Field Society, will be on training Indigenous coaches and leaders to promote participation, either through running or walking, within their communities.
The run’s location offers a unique setting, blending the well-preserved temperate rainforest ecosystem of the 90-hectare park with vistas of Burnaby’s ever rising cityscape.
The start/finish inside Swangard Stadium will also feature an accompanying public event that will celebrate the heritage of Canada’s Indigenous culture.
“This event provides an opportunity for a greater understanding of our Indigenous culture through the sharing of art and music in a festival-like atmosphere,” says Dr. Doug Clement, president of the Achilles Society.
“The general public will be exposed to thousands of years of rich evolution of the Indigenous patterns, while at the same sharing in positive approaches to optimal lifestyles via exercise and nutrition.”
The inaugural 5K run on Sept. 29 will be held one year after the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame opened its new Indigenous Sport Gallery celebrating the many contributions to sport by First Nations athletes, teams, coaches and builders in B.C.
The ambitious long-term plan for the run is to add a 10-kilometre distance and to grow the event by attracting participants from Indigenous cultures up and down the West Coast and, eventually, from around the world.