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Historic races in Hantsport on July 1

Beazley memorial race running for 71st year

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 29, 2017

HANTSPORT, N.S. – Two historic running figures in this community, one gone for 72 years, and another still going strong, will be honoured with annual races on Saturday, July 1.
The Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race will be held for the 71st year on Canada Day this year, along with the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race, which dates back more than 40 years.
“It’s small and kind of intimate,” said Richard Beazley, who represents the Beazley and Robertson families on the planning committee. “People come back year after year, some of them, and others come because a friend is coming. It’s just a small town event, and always has been.”

The annual Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race and the annual Arnold Robertson Memorial Two-Mile Race will be held in Hantsport, N.S. on Saturday, July 1. Shown here are participants during last year’s event.

Photo courtesy of Richard Beazley

Beazley’s father, Dick, was a native of Hantsport and was also one of the best distance runners in the Maritimes during the 1930s. He was killed in action in Germany during the Second World War on Feb. 26, 1945, at the age of 33, and was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2002.
The race in his memory was first held in 1947 during Hantsport’s first Canada Day celebration, and both community events continue to this day. The race is second only to the Dartmouth Natal Day races as the longest-running in the province.
“It’s a small race, a community race, and we have not gone for any of the frills that current races have,” said Beazley. “So there is no grab bag for people, but we provide a very nutritious amount of food after the race, which is very good. There is no hoopla at all, most sign up on the day of the race.”
Although the race used to follow a tough course, he said it is now very flat and fast, with the only hill of significance being a downhill.
Much of it follows the beautiful Avon River, and through a shady residential section of the community.
“People really like it,” he said. “The previous course had a reputation for being a really tough course, and a lot of good runners wouldn’t come because they were always trying to get a PB. They weren’t going to get a PB on that course, but on this one they could.”
The Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race has its origins in a one-mile race introduced in the community in the 1950s, but became a two-miler in 1976 upon a suggestion by Robertson himself, in an effort to encourage young people to try the sport. The race was named after Robertson in 1997 to honour his accomplishments as both a runner and a race builder, and he is expected to take part again this year at the age of 83.
Winners will have their names engraved on trophies for each race.
For more on the Hantsport Canada Day Races, visit here .