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2017 in Review:

Road racing season arrives in April

Maritimers impress at home and in Boston

Andrew Wagstaff photo
Nearly 200 runners and walkers took part in this year’s Lorneville Loop race in Saint John, N.B. on April 9.

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Dec. 20, 2017

For many runners in the Maritimes, the month of April is the start of their year. Temperatures start staying above zero, the snow disappears (for the most part) and more and more running events start popping up around the region.
The month started off with a brand new event in Dartmouth, N.S., as the Shubie Classic 5K was introduced at Shubie Park. The April 1 sellout event was declared a smashing success by organizers Dean Arbuckle and Lee Dauphinee, who promised it would become an annual event.
“I was very pleased with the outcome of our first annual event,” said Arbuckle. “Overall, everyone had a great time and we are excited to do it again next year.”
The success did not come without some worrying moments. After the lingering winter weather conditions ruined the planned route, organizers had to put in all-nighter to put a whole new route in place within a span of two days.

(From left) Angela Pratley, Lia Thibault, Sangeeta Raj and Tanya Wagner-Wile were all smiles during the Shubie Classic 5K on April 1.
Most people would be spent the day after a six-hour swim-bike-run workout. Then there’s Lee Roy.
The Bathurst athlete finished first at the 354e Demi-marathon de l’Acadie in Tracadie-Sheila on April 2 with a blazing 1:13 time.
“It is sure that I wasn’t 100 per cent, but I had planned to run a 3:30/km and that was accomplished,” said Roy. “So, all in all, it was a good day today. Plus I had fun.”
Top female finisher was Nathalie Theriault-Roy for the second straight month, slightly behind her March time at 1:39:48.
Donald Wade photo
Runners gather prior to the start of the 354e Demi-marathon de l’Acadie in Tracadie-Sheila, N.B. on April 2.
Point Pleasant Park may not have felt like a jungle on cold, snowy Sunday, April 2, but Halifax Jungle Run race director Sam Buckley seemed quite satisfied with the second annual event.
“I was very happy with how things went, and I’m basking in the post-race afterglow,” said Buckley, the day after the 5K race.
“Our volunteers and even our student runners showed up nice and early, and there were no major hiccups in the production of the event.”
The event, which donated proceeds towards reforestation initiatives at the popular Halifax park, drew more than 100 registrations, although only 63 turned out. Buckley speculated that the snowy weather likely had an impact on the numbers.
Grant Handrigan showed up for the annual April 5-mile race in Miramichi on April 9, and left with a new course record.
Handrigan finished with a scorching time of 25:53, outrunning his fellow Monctonian Remi Poitras, who finished in second place at 27:07. Coming in third was Shayne Dobson of Campbellton at 27:46.
Top female finisher was Kari Parsons of Saint John, who crossed the line at the 37:41 mark, and said it was a beautiful morning for a race.
“The Miramichi River Runners always do a great job organizing races,” she said. “There were a lot of volunteers and the course was well mapped.”

Photo courtesy of Sam Buckley
Safari sprinters line up to give Halifax Jungle Run co-organizer Chris Holland a pre-race high five before setting out on their 1K run on April 2.
Run New Brunswick’s Super Series also got underway on April 9 with the annual Lorneville Loop in Saint John.
Greg Sawyer chopped more than a minute from his time at last year’s race, coming in well ahead of the pack at 46:13.
“I’m pleased with it,” he said. “I ran alone, so I pushed myself.”
It was the first road race of 2017 for top female finisher Sacha Hourihan, after a very busy 2016 that saw her compete in more than 30 events. She said she was happy with her time, which was slightly slower than her 51:05 finish time at last year’s Lorneville Loop.

Brian Richard photo
Grant Handrigan (right) leads Remi Poitras early in the race at the Miramichi 5 Mile on April 9. The Moncton pair finished 1-2 in the annual race, with Handrigan setting a new course record of 25:53.
New Brunswick history was made at the Boston Marathon on April 17, as Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis finished at 2:45:46, breaking the provincial record for the female marathon in the province set by Paula Keating in 2011. Keating herself also had a huge run, finishing at 3:00:15, second overall in her age division.
Stan Chaisson of Charlottetown was the top Maritime finisher in his fifth appearance at the storied race.
Chaisson ran a steady race in the Boston heat, which reached as high as 26 degrees, finishing with a time of 2:41:15, good for 210th overall and 163rd in his age division.
In another astonishing feat, Moncton’s Julie McGivery finished the race while eight months pregnant.

The annual Wear Red Road Races (WR3) took place in Charlottetown on April 22, with 150 taking part in half marathon, 10K and 5K events.
The event serves to raise both awareness and funds for the PEI Military Family Resource Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing programs and services military families in Prince Edward Island.
Participating runners seemed quite impressed with the event, including Scott Langille, who came first in the half marathon race with a time of 1:23:55.
“The race was tough, and I was racing against myself because I had a four-minute lead,” said Langille, who ran his first kilometer in 3:40. “The course of the half marathon was good, it was flat, and the course had some rough hills. It was a tough race but a great day to run.”

Julie McGivery of Moncton completed the Boston Marathon on April 17 despite being 32 weeks along in her pregnancy.    
It was a great trip to Liverpool on April 23 for Halifax couple Greg and Maura Wieczorek, as they both captured top spot in the half marathon race at the annual Run Our Shore event.
The couple was among more than 200 participants in the event, marking another successful year for Run Our Shore. The event also served as the kick-off for Run Nova Scotia’s road racing and performance series.
“Maura and I were both really happy with how today went,” said Greg, who took first place overall in the half with a time of 1:13:37. “The rain let up and it was a nice cool morning for a race.”

James Murphy was not even sure he was ready for the April 23 Run for Renee 5K race. He ended up setting a new course record of 15:48.
The series, which is held monthly from April to October, kicked with the cap of 50 participants registering for the first race.
“Everything went well,” said Dean Strowbridge, who put the series together as a fundraiser for the kidney foundation in memory of his mother. “We sold out on our first one.”
It was Murphy’s first time racing in the event, which he said is organized by a great group and supports a great cause.
Photo courtesy of Scott Langille
Scott Langille was the first place finisher in the half marathon at the annual Wear Red Road Races in Charlottetown on April 22.
The memory of a young New Brunswicker remained strong in Saint John on April 29, as 175 runners took part in the annual Brent Kelly Memorial 5 Mile Run/Walk.
“I’m over the moon,” said organizer Marta Kelly, aunt of 12-year-old Brent Kelly, who passed away in 2004 from a rare heart disease. “It was a great tribute to Brent’s memory. My participants and volunteers are the best.”
Evan Arsenault of Quispamsis placed first in the run at the foggy Irving Nature Park, with a speedy 28:58 time. Bryan Gagner of Mascarene was close behind in second place at 29:03, followed by top female Sacha Hourihan at 31:26.

Photo courtesy of Greg Wieczorek
Maura and Greg Wieczorek of Halifax finished at the top of their gender divisions in the half marathon at the annual Run Our Shore race in Liverpool, N.S. on April 23. They are shown here at the awards reception held afterwards at Queens Place.
The region’s most competitive 15K race also took place on April 29, with more than 250 runners and walkers taking part in the annual 15km de Grande-Digue.
In a field that included some of New Brunswick’s top runners, it was Lee Wesselius of River Glade who finished in first place with a time of 51:05.
Although happy with the win, Wesselius said he was disappointed with his performance.
“I went out a little on the quick end with the wind at my back, and struggled the second half with the headwind and hills,” he said. “I was also dealing with a hip/groin niggle that seized up during the second half.”

Lindsay Lamrock was already having a good running day on April 30, after finishing as the top female at the MEC Citadel Highlander 5K race in Halifax. She could have gone home satisfied.
Instead, she headed over to Lower Sackville to take part in the second annual Go For the Burn 5K Fun Run, where she finished as the top female for the second straight year. And she did it while running in the bunker gear she wears as a member of the Black Point Fire Department.
Not bad for a girl with an injured foot.
“I am passionate about firefighting, running and supporting others, so running my bunker gear just seemed like the fitting thing to do,” said Lamrock. “I contemplated this last year, but never got the chance.”

Photo courtesy of Marta Kelly
Marta Kelly (second from right) presents prizes to the top three female finishers at the April 29 Brent Kelly Memorial 5-Mile Walk/Run, (from left) Emma Jarvis, Sacha Hourihan and Brenda Guitard.