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Running a historic parade route

Charlottetown hosting annual Gold Cup Trot on Friday

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Aug. 14, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN – What can be more fun than watching the largest parade east of Montreal? How about running the parade route in front of 60,000 cheering spectators?
That is what runners in Charlottetown’s annual Gold Cup Trot get to do, and will do so this year on Friday, Aug. 18.
“For the first couple of years, the people lining the parade route weren’t really sure what was going on when the runners went by,” said race director Rob MacKenzie. “But now they are expected, and runners get lots of support along the parade route.”

The annual Gold Cup Trot 5K race will take place in Charlottetown on Friday, Aug. 18. Shown here are participants during last year’s race.

j. norman-bain photo

The course has proven to be a fast one. Starting and finishing at Victoria Park, it joins the parade route, a good portion of which is closed to vehicle traffic during the event.
“For runners looking to set a PB, this course will not disappoint,” he said. “It is not perfectly flat, but there are no major grades to climb, and not too many turns to navigate.”
To find evidence of the course’s speed, one has to look no further than last year’s race, which saw Lee Wesselius run it in 14:50, the fastest 5K road time recorded in P.E.I.
Wesselius is expected to return this year to defend his title and course record, but is expected to have some stiff competition from the likes of some his former St. F.X. University teammates, Alex Cyr and Alex Neuffer.
The total number of participants varies from year to year and has reached as high as 155. MacKenzie is expecting around 100-125 this year.
For more on the Gold Cup Trot, visit here .
MacKenzie got the idea from another Prince Edward Island race that was held prior to the annual Santa Claus Parade in Souris. He thought of a 5K race along the route of the Gold Cup and Saucer Parade, a tradition since 1961 that is tied to the island’s rich harness racing history and its annual Old Home Week festivities.
His idea quickly gained support, and for 13 years has been sponsored by Proude’s Shoes and New Balance, while Murphy’s Pharmacies has also come on board.
Proceeds from run registrations go to Easter Seals PEI, and it has seen participation from runners of all kinds.
“I wanted to have an event that was definitely fun for all ages, regardless of running ability,” said MacKenzie. “Being a competitive runner myself, I also wanted to host a race that allowed runners to really test their 5K speed.”