Spring just doesn’t seem to want to catch hold but that isn’t stopping the athletes from getting into the race season.
On Saturday in Sussex the triathletes get a great early opportunity to test their winter training with the Sussex Swim, Run and Bike. This is a great way to ease into the season. The swim will start things off and the athletes will transition directly into the run. Then there is a small break after which athletes will reconvene for an optional bike portion. There is also a speakers’ series following the activity to give athletes an opportunity to pick up some great tips before they get too deeply into the season. For more information, go to https://www.sussextriathlon.org/
Also on Saturday in Saint John is the always popular Brent Kelly 5-Miler at the Irving Nature Park. There couldn’t be a more beautiful location nor a more compelling cause than raising funds for Pro Kids in the name of the late Brent Kelly. Brent was a young athlete taken too soon by a rare heart disease, he loved to train in the Irving Nature Park and during those tough hills on the back side you can almost feel him giving you a little push. The start time is 9 a.m. and you can get all the details at https://events.runnb.ca/event/brent-kelly-memorial-5-miler/19980/
Also this month across the Province there is a new program called Walk or Run to Quit. This program uses walking and running 10-week programs to help reduce smoking. And it really works with reports of up to 50% of participants quitting in a six month follow up. You can do a virtual program or join a group at your local Running Room. To learn more go to https://www.runtoquit.com/register-run-to-quit-training-new-brunswick-p199627
Last weekend of course was the Boston Marathon and the weather was brutal. As previously reported New Brunswick athletes certainly were up to Mother Nature’s challenge and our Province can once again be very proud of our athletes.
A couple of my favourite stories are about athletes showing grit, like Colin McQuade of Riverview running in memory of his late Mom just weeks after both she and her brother passed away only weeks apart. Then pushing through the miserable weather to finish in 3:00:47. Or Paul Sands of Saint John still running great in his sixties and hit a 3:39:18 to qualify again for next year by over 30 minutes. How about Brenda Guitard, the running legend, getting it done with that permanent smile. But the story of the day for me comes from further back in the pack. From a man who doesn’t spend much time at the back of the pack judging by his 12 straight Boston Marathons. Steve Lohnes has been under the magic 3:00 barrier just a few years ago, but this year there were demons. He was very sick on race day but was determined to not break his streak so he gutted out a very tough 5-and-a-half-hour marathon in driving rain. Attacked from within by the flu bug, from without by the weather, but fortified in his character with the strength that would never let him quit, he got it done. And that my friends is exactly what the Boston Marathon is all about.
Closer to home, the Run for Renee (R4R) had a clear crisp day for the first running of the season and judging by the number of personal best times the conditions were great. We don’t have the hometowns for the participants but let’s check the women’s results first. The top finisher was the amazing Erin Vringer in a quick 19:07 followed by Mary Bartlett in her first R4R in 21:21 and Kari Parsons just behind in 21:44. The men were very fast as Evan Arsenault led the way in 16:25 followed by Justin Young in 17:46 and Anderson Peters in 18:18. It was great to see runners from the early teens to the late seventies enjoying this event.
This week our Person on the Run goes to Evan Doucet of Quispamsis for crushing Boston with a PB of 3:00:22 in the driving rain. Evan is a great race organizer and can burn up a course as well. Great work!
Weekly Running Columnist