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Personal milestones marked at March 5K

Thibodeau, Morrissey celebrated by Miramichi River Runners

Billy Morrissey (left) and Paul Thibodeau each celebrated a milestone at today's March 5K in Miramichi. Thibodeau ran his 400th race, and Morrissey ran his 400th club race with the Miramichi River Runners.                              Photos courtesy of Brian Richard
By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
March 19, 2017

MIRAMICHI, N.B. – When a person runs their 400th race, it’s an occasion worth celebrating. When two people do it, it’s a pretty special day.
Such was the case in Miramichi this morning, as both Billy Morrissey and Paul “The Jackal” Thibodeau were celebrated by the Miramichi River Runners at the club’s annual March 5K race.
Thibodeau had two words for the tribute.
“Simply awesome,” he said. “I had a blast, and I knocked off 37 seconds from my best this year for 19:00 flat. It was great.”
The top four runners all went under 17 minutes in the March 5K race. Leading early is Jeremie Pellerin, followed by Bryan Thomas  (1027), Jean-Marc Doiron and  Alexandre L’Heureux.
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For Thibodeau it was his 400th race, while for Morrissey, the event marked his 400th race with the Miramichi River Runners Club. Both runners were presented with an anniversary cake, and cheered by the gathered crowd.
A total of 50 runners took part in the race, the largest crowd yet this year for the Miramichi series.
“The running conditions were great,” said past president Brian Richard. “I think it was only -8 when it started, but it was up around 5 or so later on. A lot of the front leaders ran with shorts, which was nice, especially for up here.”
Plenty of fast times were laid down, included the first place 15:39 by Jeremie Pellerin of Cocagne. He was followed by Jean-Marc Doiron of Colette at 15:50, and Alexandre L’Heureux of Fredericton at 16:12.
“The weather was ideal for a winter day: nice and cool, and no wind in the morning,” said Pellerin, whose 15:12 at last year’s March 5K was the fastest 5K time recorded in the Maritimes in 2016.
Pellerin just arrived from a southern vacation, during which he said he gained an extra 5 lbs.
“It feels good to have a great season opener,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to be this fast. I’m looking forward to a fast one in Lameque in August.”
Topping the females was Miramichi’s own Laura Dickinson, who clocked in at 17:36, followed by Carol-Ann MacDonald of Irishtown at 19:24, and Cathy Comeau of Moncton at 20:42.
Dickinson was also impressed with the day’s sunny and no-wind conditions.
“I love the Miramichi course because it is really fast and I always run my best times on this course,” she said. “Although I didn’t run a personal best time today, I felt really good and I was happy with my race.”
Dickinson has also embarked on a campaign to run 1,000 km this year while raising money for Kid Sport Miramichi, a program to help local children who cannot afford to participate in sports activities. She has already reached 250 km, and received a $400 donation after today’s race from the Miramichi River Runners.
Overall, the day’s events went well, according to Richard.
“We had a good turnout, a good race, it was competitive, and we had good weather for a change,” he said.
Next up for the Miramichi River Runners will be the Miramichi 5 Mile on Sunday, April 9.
Jean-Marc Doiron (right) battles it out with Jeremie Pellerin around the 2K mark.
(From left) Sondra Craig of the Miramichi River Runners presents Laura Dickinson with the first place medal while Carol-Ann MacDonald was second and Cathy Comeau was third.