Surrey-born Olympian Wodak runs with immigrant/refugee youth at Green Timbers Park

September 2, 2021

Newcomer youth in Surrey got some tips from Olympic long-distance runner Natasha Wodak at Green Timbers Park during the finale event of DIVERSEyouth’s Run 5K program, planned in partnership with SportMedBC.

The Surrey-born Wodak placed 13th in the marathon at the recent Tokyo Olympics, becoming the second-fastest female marathoner in Canadian history.

At Green Timbers Park on Monday, Aug. 30, she surprised local immigrant and refugee youth with a visit and warm-up lesson, for an event they’d been training for since June 21.

Wodak told them about growing up in Surrey.

“I ran track and cross country and played soccer and that’s what I was doing instead of what my friends were doing,” she said. “I was lucky enough that sport got me a full scholarship at SFU. I was able to play sports there and get a full education after high school,” she said.

“It’s so important to be involved in sport,” Wodak added.

“The most important thing that I took away from running was I had so much fun and got to meet so many people and make new friendships that have lasted a lifetime. It’s awesome that you are all out here doing this.”

DIVERSEyouth is DIVERSEcity’s “signature” program for helping immigrant and refugee youth 13 to 18 years old in their settlement journey in Canada. With workshops, arts and exercise programs, the goal is to empower youth with leadership skills, confidence, goals and new friendships, according to the organization.

More program details are posted to, or call 604-547-1317.

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