This story ran in the Nov. 26th edition of the Daily Gleaner
The New Brunswick running season wrapped up last weekend with an impressive awards and Hall of Fame banquet in Tracadie.
But the unofficial running season takes few breaks and before we look back at the past year, planning is already well underway for next season’s events, including the Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon and the Liv9 Fall Classic.
The former will take place in the city in its traditional Mothers Day slot that will have routes ranging from the full 42.2 km distance to other distances over a packed May 13-14 weekend.
Recently, Run NB announced the race will serve as the provincial championship for the marathon distance in 2017. Meanwhile, the Fall Classic is slated for the weekend of Sept. 23-24 with the signature event – the half marathon, slated for Sept. 24.
Both events are also part of next year’s Trackie Super Series of events, where standings in age divisions are compiled through the year in 21 races to determine provincial winners.
This year, we featured 18 runners in our Running Whys series, athletes who raced at home and abroad, posting great results but more importantly, continuing personal challenges they took with their first steps – whether that was decades ago or more recently – or helping others with their personal strides and development.
One used running throughout and after cancer treatments, to assist in reaching key physical and physiological benchmarks in his recovery.
“My faith has allowed me to have a ‘no negatives attitude’ and I surprised myself,” Bob Cormier said after qualifying for the 2018 Boston Marathon this fall, once his treatments ended.
Nancy Cornect of Oromocto initially used running to complement boxing but delved into running more seriously as she successfullycompeted her first 10 k. She’s since enjoyed virtual runs, supporting charities in Canada and the United States online while running in her neighbourhood and areas close to home.
“I decided I was going to go to Virginia and meet all these people who were in this group,” she said after joining a Facebook forum honouring the memory of Virginia runner killed by a drunk driver while training for the Boston Marathon.
“We all bonded. We got to be great friends.”
We profiled those in charge of the popular Beer runs in the city, to runners/coaches to others who were collegiate stars but switched to running and continue to post remarkable results in the marathon distance.
“It taught me to work hard and how to set goals,” said Cathy Jeffrey of Fredericton, who studied at Virginia Tech University while playing tennis. “I knew if I set a goal of a sub three-hour marathon, I was mentally strong enough to work hard enough to get there.”
About six years ago, Mark Scott decided he needed to get out from behind his desk more and exercise more. He picked running and now has completed many long races on the road and through trails in the region.
“I am healthier now than I ever was,” said Scott, who finished the Big Brad Ultra 50-mile trail race in Maine in October.
“I am in better shape at 40 than I was at 20. The friends, the community, these people I run with, we get to know each other because we spend a lot of time together. It is nice to be part of that.”
With that, we will conclude for 2016 but if you know inspiring runners of any age or ability you think would make for a good profile, send an e-mail to the address located at the bottom of this column.
The New Brunswick participants in the 2017 Boston Marathon have been determined, with 62 runners from this province who successfully registered after meeting qualifying standards for their age groups. However, qualifying was not enough as due to the popularity of the historic event, there is a limited field and thus, those successful applicants needed to run two minutes and nine seconds under the qualifying standard before their entry made the official cut.
The qualifying times are required in September, when the application process took place.
This list may change as injury, life circumstances or other factors can force those who are registered out of the race – but for now, there are 62 from New Brunswick.
That includes Nathaniel Couture, Steve Dohaney, Marc Gallant, France Hache, Schelly MacKinnon, Greg McCann, Joanne Reynolds, Heather Suttie, Mary Kate Wedge – all of Fredericton – and Michelle McCullough of Keswick Ridge.
At last weekend’s Run NB awards, a number of Fredericton area athletes were recognized during the gala event held in Tracadie.
Dianne Sharpe was third overall in the women’s 50-59 category with 340 points, which included division wins at races in Perth-Andover, Grand Bay-Westfield, St. Andrews and Grande-Digue.
Eunice Phillips of Fredericton was third in the 60-69 women’s division with 390 points, which included six division wins at events in Saint John, Perth-Andover, Saint-Francois, Chipman, Grand Bay-Westfield and St Andrews.
Lee Bryam of Fredericton was second in the men’s 60-69 category with 406 points which included a win in Oromocto and runner-up results in Bouctouche, Edmundston, Grand Bay-Westfield and Saint John.
Phil Booker of Fredericton was second overall in the men’s 70-and-over class with 625 points.
He won division in races at Perth Andover, Tracadie, Bathurst, Saint Francois, Chipman, Bouctouche, Lameque and Shediac.
Finally, Mia Allen of New Maryland was third in the girls under-19 division with 110 points, thanks to a top-three and a top-four result at races in Grand Bay-Westfield and St. Andrews.
Sacha Hourihan of Southfield was named the female runner of the year while Greg Sawyer of Edmundston was the male runner of the year. In addition, Nathalie Boivin and Paul Morrison of Bathurst were inducted into the RunNB Hall of Fame during the ceremony.
Kevin Barrett‘s column appeared every other Saturday during the running season. If you have a suggestion for a feature story for next year, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit barrettkevin.wordpress.com.