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MEC Salt Marsh Trail race draws 540 runners

Heat a factor in third race of annual series

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 25, 2017

COLE HARBOUR, N.S. – It was a hot and sunny day for the MEC Salt Marsh Trail race today, perhaps a little too much so.
“It was a super hot day,” said Cliff Pratt of MEC Halifax, which puts on the annual series of trail runs. “We went through twice as much water as we have in the past, so it was a little bit too hot. We had a few people with heat exhaustion, but we managed that pretty well.”
There were 700 runners registered for the event, but only 540 turned out. More than 400 signed up for the entire series as a package this year, and many don’t make it to all of the races.

Sheila Grover (left) and Helen MacDonald lead a pack of runners in today’s MEC Salt Marsh Trail race today.

Photo courtesy of Luke MacDonald

“I think if we had much more than that, we would have had to do a staggered start, which we probably should have done in the end anyway,” said Pratt, who was looking after his first event since the recent departure of long-time race director Christine Krochak. “We’re very happy with the turnout, and the amount of people who were happy with the race. We had very few complaints.”
In the 5K race, it was Simon Kearns finishing in first place with a time of 18:27, followed by Ben Good at 18:42 and Fraser Allen at 18:43. Top female was Abby Lewis at 20:28, Paula James at 20:45, and Chloe Austin at 22:24.
“What a beautiful day for a trail run,” said James. “There was a huge turnout, which definitely caused some congestion, especially at the turnaround. But the trails and beautiful views made up for that.”
James, who is planning to race the 10K at next weekend’s Epic Canadian event, was using today’s MEC race as a training run, as was Emily Hamilton, the top female finisher in the 10K with a time of 41:21.
“It was up and downhill with a flat stretch to the 5K turnaround and then do it all over again,” said Hamilton. “I felt great even though it was hot and a difficult course… like a glorified cross-country race.”
First overall finisher in the 10K was Drew Moore, with a time of 38:32, just shy of the sub-38:00 he was aiming for.
“I’ve done the 5K and the half before, so I knew it was a challenging course with the hills, the narrow trail and the heat on days like today,” said Moore. “An athlete I coach in track was running the 5K so I paced him until the 5K turnaround at about 3:36 pace (his goal was 18:00). That ended up hurting me in the long run.”
He knew Ian Loughead and a few others were not far behind, so he conserved energy on the course’s two big inclines, and managed to maintain some distance for the last 500m. Loughead finished just 25 seconds behind at 38:57, followed by Chris Creene at 39:18.
“The Salt Marsh Trail is true to all of the MEC series in that they are challenging routes, but beautiful, and a lot of fun,” said Moore. “It’s a great community.”
Top females behind Hamilton were Michelle Mackintosh at 41:05 and Cindy Larade at 42:42.
The half marathon race saw Matthew White finish in first place with a time of 1:22:36, just a day after winning the Liverpool Privateer 5 Mile Road Race. He was followed by Chris Macknie at 1:25:19, and Brendan Chard at 1:27:45. Top females were Katie Girgulis at 1:37:43, Janna Morrison at 1:40:49, and Erika Aberg at 1:41:39.
For complete official results by Atlantic Chip, visit here .