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2017 in Review:

Something for everyone in July

Schedule heats up with community festivals

Andrew Wagstaff photo
The Cavendish Homestead Boogie took place in Prince Edward Island National Park on July 29.
By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Dec. 26, 2017

The summer running schedule heats up across the Maritimes in July, branching off in two distinct directions. Competitive races are still taking place, although on a somewhat lesser degree than May and June. Only one marathon is offered – the region’s longest-running marathon event – the Nova Scotia Marathon in Barrington.
More common in July are fun runs linked with various community festivals. Canada Day offers several events in all three provinces, while runs can also be found with events such as strawberry festivals, lobster festivals, and pride festivals. There’s the Somerset Festival in Kinkora, P.E.I., the Brussels Sprout Festival in Rogersville, N.B., and the Highland Games in Antigonish, N.S.
July offers something for everyone.
Alex Coffin photo
Runners head out for the annual Canada Day 10 Miler in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B. on July 1.
Our country threw plenty of wet weather at us for its 150th birthday, but the turnout at the annual Epic Canadian races in Dartmouth, N.S. was strong. The 10K and 5K races on July 1 drew 1,036 and 1,201 finishers, respectively, following a turnout of 480 for the 6.1K run on the evening of June 30.
Plenty of strong performances were turned in. Paula James of Windsor beat the 40-minute mark for her first time in the 10K, finishing as the top female with a time of 39:30.
Finishing first in the half marathon on July 2 was Matthew White with a time of 1:21:01, while pace bunny Jennie Orr paced herself to a 1:39:54 top female finish.
Day three of the popular Dartmouth Canada Day event was once again plagued by rain, but 145 runners took part in the half marathon race, and another 117 finished the quarter marathon.
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Running Room Events on Facebook
Participants in the Canada Day Bash races in Charlottetown.
When he decided to make umbrellas his giveaway prize this year, Alex Coffin said that should have been a bad omen.
“I need to check my weather horoscope,” said the race director of the annual Canada Day 10 Miler in Grand Bay-Westfield, N.B. “I seem to be unlucky.”
The event drew 94 participants, 66 of them for the 10-mile race, the only 10 miler featured in the Run New Brunswick Super Series this year.
“We took a big hit due to the rain, but I am very confident that word of mouth will be very positive from this year,” said Coffin.
Greg Sawyer and Sacha Hourihan repeated as champions in the 10-mile, whole Dean Strowbridge set a new course record of 17:31 in the 5K.
Photo by Jud Porter
(From left) Race organizer Robbie Zwicker, Noah Shankel (winner of the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race), Jonah Shankel (winner of the Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race) and race organizer Bill Preston.
It may have been the only run to escape rainfall on Canada Day this year, perhaps fitting for the Cradle of Confederation.
The annual Canada Day Bash in Charlottetown was a great success, according to Jenn Hanus of The Running Room.
“The race went very well this morning,” she said. “The weather was perfect – overcast but not raining, and the participants had fun.”
There were 110 people who registered for the event, which included run/walks in the 10 mile, 10K, 5K and 3K distances.
It rained all through both races, but Richard Beazley was quite pleased with how both the Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race and the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race turned out in Hantsport, N.S. on July 1.
“It went really well,” said Beazley, who represents the Beazley and Robertson families on the event planning committee. “It was the best organized run of that race, probably as far back as I can remember.”
In memory of his father, who was killed in action during the Second World War, the six-mile race dates back 70 years. The two-mile race had its beginnings 40 years ago.
Brothers Jonah and Noah Shankel were winners of the races.
Photo by Paul Morris
(From left) Mike Fougere, Wade Keller, and Terry Worthen were among the half marathon runners in the annual Epic Canadian race on July 2.
After graduating from St. F.X. University earlier in the year, Alex Cyr managed to make a grand homecoming on the weekend of July 7-8.
The Halifax runner took first place in a competitive field at the Antigonish Highland Games 5 Miler on Friday night, and followed it up with a fourth place finish in the Elite 1 Miler on Saturday morning.
“Hearing former classmates and people from the community cheering you on and screaming your name makes the race special and like no other,” said Cyr. “There is a strong sense of community here, both in the realms of running and St. F.X. It’s my favourite weekend of the summer and I hope to make it back next year.”
Cyr was first across the finish line Friday night with a time of 25:45, followed by his good friends and former roommates, Lee Wesselius and Cal Dewolfe, at 25:57 and 26:06, respectively.
The Oxford Strawberry Festival run got off to a great start on July 8 with a record crowd for its annual races.
The 5K event drew 67 participants, while 36 opted for the 10K, much to the pleasure of race director David McLeod.
“We had our highest turnout ever, and some fast times,” said McLeod. “The feedback I got is that people really enjoyed the event.”
Local runner David Enman was first in the 5K race with a time of 19:23, which he considered a respectable effort in his adopted hometown.
Other top finishers included Meaghan Kerman, Kent Beattie and Lindsay Laltoo.
Photo courtesy of Oxford Strawberry Festival on Facebook
Top finishers at the Oxford Strawberry Festival races on July 8, shown here with Oxford Mayor Trish Stewart (centre), were (from left) Meaghan Kerman, Kent Beattie, Lindsay Laltoo, and David Enman.
Cindy Hynes was thrilled to see clouds in the sky on July 8 for the Marion Bridge 10K race.
“The usual 30-degree-plus day ended up being cloudier with a 20-25-degree temperature and it was very humid,” said Hynes, organizer of the race. “The race went very well.”
Fifty runners took part in the annual event, up from last year’s 40.
James Forsey was first across the finish line with a time of 38:36, followed by Jonah Hudec at 39:28, and Kelson Devereaux at 39:36.
Top female was Caden Macleod, with a time of 44:10.
The 14-year-old runner said the race was very well organized, with a nice post-run gathering.
Christine Richardson had a few reasons why she loves the Run for the Lobster in Pictou, N.S.
“It is always well organized, with lots of helpful and friendly volunteers, a fun crowd and, not to mention, it’s a great price for a race,” she said, after participating in the event for the fourth time on July 9.
The race is special to her not just because she is from the Pictou area, but also because she is a teacher and gets to see many current and former students participating. Her mother also takes part, and sometimes her sons do as well.
“Today’s race went really well for me and I was pleased with my results,” she said. “It was a little muggy running today and, at times, I did find it hard to catch my breath, which seemed to be the general consensus from the runners I spoke with after the race.”
Photo courtesy of Limitless Race Timing
Caden Macleod was the top female finisher at the Marion Bridge 10K on July 8.
The annual Cox & Palmer 5/10K run/walk in Charlottetown saw 159 participants come out on July 15, in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.
The weather was perfect for a race, and it seemed that everyone enjoyed themselves, according to Melanie McKenna, a student at the law firm’s Charlottetown office.
“The numbers were a little down this year, unfortunately, but it still went really well and I’m certain we raised a lot of money for the cancer society,” she said. “Registration was smooth, and we had some fast times on a fast course.”
Halifax couple Michael Bergeron and Jennie Orr topped their gender divisions in the 5K race, with Bergeron finishing first overall at 17:16.
Photo by j. norman-bain
Runners head out to start the annual Cox & Palmer 5/10K Walk/Run in Charlottetown on July 15.
Despite having earlier decided not to run in this year’s Sheila Poole 10K race in Yarmouth, N.S. due to an injury, Dartmouth’s Denise Robson changed her mind at the last minute and finished as the top female for the sixth straight year, with a time of 39:34 on July 15.
With no major flare-ups of her Achilles injury, she said she was so happy that she came and ran the race, which she has a personal connection with.
“It gives me confidence because I want to run the half in Barrington next weekend,” said Robson. “I’m so happy because I was so disappointed with how my season had been going so far.”
Finishing first overall for the second straight year was Yarmouth’s own Bryan Hipson, with a time of 36:56.
Photo courtesy of Sheila Poole 10K on Facebook
Reigh and Ruth Poole, parents of the late Sheila Poole, presented the trophy to winners Denise Robson and Bryan Hipson at this year’s Sheila Poole 10K race in Yarmouth, N.S. on July 15.
Thirty-three runners took part in the annual Salmon Run in Fredericton on July 16, in support of Falls Brook Centre.
Evenly split between 10K and 5K events, the runners had a beautiful day for running along the Nashwaak River.
“Many of the runners were unfamiliar with the trail and loved it,” said Charlotte Flores, education coordinator for the centre, which aims to educate and inspire people to adapt environmentally sound practices. “Times were fast, as there aren’t any hills, and many commented that it was their fastest time.”
Proceeds from the event will go to Falls Brook Centre’s Eco Citizens Club, which sees students work on conservation activities focused on biodiversity, renewable energy, local food, leadership and community.
It was perhaps fitting that an 8K race held in benefit for a P.E.I. biathlete on the national team, was won by another local biathlete.
Lucas Boudreau finished in top spot at the Tea Hill 8K for Carsen Campbell held in Stratford, P.E.I. on July 22 with a time of 33:26.
“Today’s race was really good,” said Boudreau, who has competed at the world junior biathlon championship himself. “I had a good race from the start, and was able to rock it the rest of the race. It was a beautiful location, with the water on the return, and it was great to help support a fellow athlete to help him reach his goals.”
Campbell trains with the national biathlon team in Canmore, Alta., and hopes to make the squad for upcoming events such as the World Cup and the Olympics.
Photo courtesy of Charlotte Flores
The second annual Salmon Run took place in Fredericton on July 16, with 33 participants coming out for the 10K and 5K events.
It seemed like a great idea to have a 5K race prior to the July 22 Pride parade in Halifax, and it turned out to be the case.
More than 100 runners and walkers, most of them dressed in fabulous fashion for the occasion, took part in the inaugural Rainbow Run along the parade route through the downtown core.
“It was amazing,” said Sarah Riley of the North End Runners, who put on the event in partnership with Halifax Pride. “Everyone love love loved it, so I supposed we’ll have to bring it back.”
The run started a half hour before the parade started, with the plan being for any late finishers in the race to be absorbed into the parade. That turned out to not be necessary, as participants fed off the excitement from the large crowds lined along the route.
Photo by j. norman-bain
Caitlin and Carsen Campbell were happy with the Tea Hill 8K for Carsen Campbell, a fundraising run held on July 22 in Stratford, P.E.I. to help him pursue his goals with the national biathlon team.
Stephen Walsh went home to Boston qualified for that city’s 2018 marathon, thanks to a 3:02:04 victory at the 47th annual Nova Scotia Marathon on July 23.
Walsh, actually from Cambridge, Massachusetts, finished atop the field in his first-ever full marathon.
“I wanted to qualify for Boston, so it was either this one or San Francisco,” said Walsh. “This one was a lot more accessible, and I like the course better. I had an amazing experience.”
It was another New Englander, Colleen Ryan of Intervale, New Hampshire, who finished as the top female, with a time of 3:18:17.
Much of the local excitement at this year’s event centered on the half marathon race, which saw many Run Nova Scotia members taking part for the Performance Series.
Topping the stacked field were Cal Dewolfe and Matt McNeil, who crossed the finish line together in first place at a time of 1:12:33. The pair said they had planned it that way, and were already thinking about the Dartmouth Natal Day race coming up.
Photo by Click Productions
The inaugural Rainbow Run 5K race took place in Halifax on July 22, prior to the annual Pride parade.
Paul Wright had an opportunity to reminisce with Bill Callbeck prior to the 40th annual Dunk River Road Race in Central Bedeque, P.E.I. on July 23.
Callbeck was on hand to serve as the official starter for the race, which his family store has been the sponsor of from its very start in 1978.
“We were saying it’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years,” said Wright, who started the event and still serves as race director. “I was 22, a running-crazed local lad starting up a race, and he was good enough to support it. It’s been going on ever since.”
The event has seen peaks and valleys over the years, and this year drew a crowd of 50 participants, a number consistent with other turnouts in recent years, according to Wright, who was hoping for 60-65.
Andrew Wagstaff photo
Cal Dewolfe (left) and Matt McNeil tied for first in the half marathon at the Nova Scotia Marathon in Barrington, N.S. on July 23.
It was the first time Charley Johnston had ever felt nervous while running.
“I’m not sure why, but my legs felt like Jell-o, and it took the first 3K to feel like my usual self,” said the Cardigan runner, who took part in the second annual Georgetown 5 & 10K in Georgetown, P.E.I. on July 23. “It is hard running against so many wonderful runners and, being a competitive female, it’s tough when the pass you.”
Not many passed her. Johnston finished third overall and the top female in the 10K race, with a time of 44:06.
A total of 175 runners and walkers crossed the finish line at the event, much to the satisfaction of race director Myrtle Jenkins-Smith.
“It was just an all-around great day,” she said. “So many people just stayed around. We heard a lot of great things today; they really like the course.”
With the Miramichi Irish Festival activities focused on the Chatham section of the city, the annual 5K race also took place there on Sunday, July 23.
“It’s completely different,” said Brian Richard, past president of the club. “Our regular route has a big downhill in it, while this one has a little bit of an upgrade and a little bit of a down, but is pretty flat once you’re into it. It’s not as fast, that’s for sure.”
That doesn’t mean there were no fast times on Sunday. To the contrary, five of the 42 participants finished the race in less than 20 minutes. Sylvain Arseneau of Petit-Rocher was the first across the line at the 18:03 mark.
Photo courtesy of PEI Marathon
Michael Zimmerman of Stratford, P.E.I. finished second in the 10K race at the Georgetown 5 & 10K Walk/Run in Georgetown, P.E.I. on July 23.
It was the first time Elizabeth Hoogendyk went into a race with the hope of finishing as the top female, and that’s exactly what she did.
The Campbellton, N.B. runner finished the annual Joe McGuire Road Race in Woodstock, N.B. on July 29 with a personal best time of 44:50 in the 10K.
“The course was really nice, mostly flat, and the early morning time allowed for a shady route to keep the temperature cool,” said Hoogendyk. “There was no wind either, so it was a day for everyone to challenge for a personal best. It’s a lovely scenic course along the St. John River, nice to have something to look at, maybe as a distraction while you’re hurting.”
Finishing first overall in the 10K, which was part of the Run New Brunswick Super Series this year, was Patrick Cote of Calgary, Alta., who finished with a time of 33:13. He was followed by Greg Sawyer at 34:29, and Alex Coffin at 38:13.
Brian Richard photo
Sylvain Arseneau led from the opening bell to win the annual Miramichi Irish Festival 5K in Miramichi, N.B. on July 23.
How does one follow up a gold medal-winning marathon in Africa? Some trail running in Rothesay, N.B. sounds like a good start.
That’s exactly what Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis did. Only days after returning home from Ivory Coast, where she won gold in the marathon at the 2017 Jeux de la Francophonie, she and her husband Evan participated in the inaugural Rothesay Trail Fest on July 29.
“I had a blast running the entire race with my husband,” said Doucet, who was the top female finisher in the 6.2K (5-ish Mile) Trail Master event, with a time of 28:27. “I have been traveling in Africa, so it was a great chance to catch up.”
She gave kudos to the organizers and the sponsors for making events like this possible in the community.
“I love participating in local events that showcase our trails and also that get people to try out trail running,” said Doucet. “It was great to see so many people out for their first trail race, especially the winner of the five-miler, James Murphy, as I have been trying to get him out for awhile.”
The Windsor 5K Fun Run was the setting for the epic grudge match of the summer, as Luke MacDonald (left) faced off against John Mooy on July 29.
The dust cleared and the winners were decided in the 16th annual Windsor 5K Fun Run – Windsor Recreation, and Valley Athletics.
Oh yes, and John Mooy raced to a new PB and victory over Luke MacDonald on July 29 in the epic grudge match of 2017. No Photoshopping was required.
“It was great! A sunny day, almost 250 runners, and a flat course,” said Mooy, who finished with a time of 19:42. “Luke got under 21 minutes – amazing, considering his doctor didn’t even want him to sweat a month ago.”
MacDonald, who ran a solid 20:41, was gracious in defeat.
“He crushed me, but it was totally fun,” he said. “He failed to kill me with a wooden stake. He only used a shovel to the cranium, which means I’ll be back!”
Chris Densmore arrived at the East Hants Tidal Run with every intention of defending his 5K title.
Although he fell short of that goal, he said he once again had a great time at the event, which saw 38 participants run across the ocean floor at Burntcoat Head Park in Noel, N.S. on July 29.
“It was a great time,” said Densmore, who finished in second place with a time of 29:33. “I’m a bit disappointed in my time. I ran it in just a little over 24 minutes last year.”
The competition was a bit tougher this year, he said, with Matt Hall of Mahone Bay taking first place with a time of 28:13.
Photo courtesy of Daryl Steeves
(From left) Paulette Stoddard, Carol Lynn Landry and Rebecca Goldie were among the many out for the inaugural Rothesay Trail Fest at the Wells Recreation Trail in Rothesay, N.B. on July 29.
After organizing her own run the day before, Stephanie Barry-Benadik got to enjoy this one as a runner, and she made the most of it.
Barry-Benadik was the top female finisher in the 10K at the Oyster Shuffle in Tyne Valley, P.E.I. on July 30, after celebrating a successful Cavendish Homestead Boogie Run on July 29.
“I really enjoy checking out new events, and it was neat to see Tyne Valley as a runner,” she said. “The course was well marked, the water stations easy to access, and the volunteers super friendly and helpful.”
The out-and-back course on the Bideford Road featured both 5K and 10K races, with a total of 45 participants crossing the finish line.
Barry-Benadik had been bicycling the course of her Cavendish run several times over the previous two days, and said her legs were a little stiff as a result. She finished with a time of 51:11.
Photo courtesy of Corrine Giles
The eighth annual East Hants Tidal Mud Run took place at Burntcoat Head Park in Noel, N.S. on July 29.