It’s not over, but the most of the official business associated with the 2015 running season is in the bank, with preparations for awards galas and end of the season runs on tap to wrap up another busy season.
In fact, it could be said that the training that takes place in the coming months will determine success in 2016 as many, including a collection of Boston Marathon participants, will soon begin long training segments aimed at peaking for the April 18, 2016 date in Massachusetts. In all, 63 New Brunswickers are registered for Boston, successfully beating the increasingly difficult qualifying standards in their respective age categories.
The ages range from 22 to 66 for the 35 men and 28 women who will tackle the famed course, including 17 from the Greater Fredericton area.
Less than a month after that, the 38th annual Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon will take place on May 8 and officials are in countdown mode already, working behind the scenes preparing the details.
The race, popular as a spring goal for many across the province, will be home to the 2016 RunNB provincial marathon championships with runners challenging the same course through the city’s downtown and trail system.
Officials say to keep an eye on the Marathon’s social media feeds as there will be an upcoming holiday early bird registration bonus, offering low registration fees.
But before getting too far ahead, the RunNB Hall of Fame and Award Night is on the immediate schedule, taking place on Nov. 14 at the qplex in Quispamsis. It starts with a meet and greet at 5 p.m. and followed with the banquet at 6 p.m.
Gilles Gautreau of Rothesay and Darrell Travis of Hampton will be inducted into the Hall of Fame while a number of awards will be presented, including male and female runners of the year, male and female up-and-coming runners of the year, a personal achievement award, the inspirational runner of the year, the walker of the year and the event of the year.
Rob Jackson of Fredericton is nominated for a pair of awards (male runner of the year and inspirational runner of the year) while Ryan O’Shea of New Maryland is also a finalist in the male runner of the year category while Michael Colford of New Maryland is a finalist for the up-and-coming male runner of the year.
Emma Jarvis of Oromocto and Jenna Keilty of Fredericton are finalists for the up-and-coming female runner of the year and the event of the year sees three races many from the Greater Fredericton area have enjoyed – the Bathurst 5k and 10k, Demi-Marathon de Saint-Francois, and Marathon by the Sea in Saint John.
This is the final column of the 2015 season and this year, we profiled 14 area athletes, who provided their stories of inspiration, determination and perspiration.
The list consisted of Lee Byram, Eleni Ryan, Rob Jackson, Kimberlie Sarters, Allyson MacDonald. Bernie Doucet, Darren Brideau, Mary Astle, Trevor MacDonald, Lisa Noseworthy, Josh Dick, Kay Stairs, Victoria Hitchcock and Jamie Wolverton.
Their stories ranged from setting records and winning medals at world championships to gaining courage to successfully tackle a 5k.
Many athletes in the series pointed to the health benefits associated with running and how their own life events led them to weight loss and goal setting. Some qualified for Boston, others became Learn to Run instructors.
“It was something I never dreamt I would do,” said Hitchcock. “I cried when I crossed the line because it just seemed like such an accomplishment.”
More prominent in each story were three other themes.
First is the excitement of taking part in regular events, more of a test of their progress than any actual race for first place.
“I just remembered the excitement of lining up with a couple of hundred people,” Brideau said. “My heart was pounding like I was back in junior high, but the whole experience, the camaraderie, the excitement before the horn blew – it was all fantastic.”
That social component is critical for many, support they gained in training which assisted their ultimately result.
“There are the health benefits, both physical and mental,” Sarters said in our interview. “It is just so good from a social point of view. The friends I have made, the community I am with, it is so worth it.
“Running is such a confidence builder and there are always goals you can reach – whether it is distance, pace or speed. There is so much you can accomplish.”
Finally, is the role family plays in it all, as much of the distance training requires great sacrifice while juggle life’s responsibilities, a fact every runner cited in our discussions.
With the conclusion of the Running Whys for 2015, it is time to look ahead. If you have suggestions, comments or story tips for 2016, please forward them to my email address below.
Kevin Barrett’s column appears every other Saturday. You can email him at email@example.com or visit barrettkevin.wordpress.com.