‘I just thought I’d give it a shot’

Fire­fight­ers wow crowd at Val­ley Har­vest Marathon in Wolfville

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA WOLFVILLE B7 Ash­ley.Thomp­son@kingscountynews.ca

Sea­soned run­ner Lisa Richard­son de­cided to ditch the typ­i­cal race gear for the Val­ley Har­vest Marathon this year and tackle the 10K course in her fire­fight­ing at­tire in­stead.

The Wolfville-based fire­fighter said she started to feel like a “car­rot dan­gling right in front” of the other run­ners, fu­el­ing them to push for­ward, as she ran by sport­ing the hel­met, jacket and pants is­sued as part of her bunker gear.

“I’ve never run like that be­fore and I just thought I’d give it a shot,” said Richard­son, who es­ti­mated that the gear weighed about 30 to 40 pounds.

“It was in­spir­ing not only to my­self but to peo­ple around me too, and that’s what run­ning’s all about. Peo­ple are lov­ing it.”

Fel­low fire­fight­ers Paul May­nard, Kathy Bab­cooke and Robin Jensen, who is also a paramedic, joined Richard­son in don­ning bunker gear to run in Val­ley Har­vest. The trio com­pleted the 5K event, earn­ing sev­eral rounds of ap­plause along the way.

Richard­son was proud to see the lo­cal fire de­part­ment well rep­re­sented in the event. She said it was more about be­ing vis­i­ble within the com­mu­nity than chas­ing down a per­sonal best, but her com­pet­i­tive spirit did get her over the line in less than 60 min­utes.

“A small voice in my head said, un­der an hour - un­der an hour,” she said with a laugh.

With Iron­man triathlons and many marathons un­der her belt, Richard­son said run­ning the Val­ley Har­vest 10K in bunker gear is cer­tainly a high­light reel mo­ment in her 26-year run­ning ca­reer.

“That was like the most fun I’ve ever had – hands down.”

Reams of run­ners crossed the fin­ish line at Aca­dia Univer­sity Oct. 7 as part of their own Val­ley Har­vest Marathon jour­ney. Par­tic­i­pants had the op­tion of com­plet­ing the 50K ul­tra course, marathon, half marathon, 10K or 5K route.

Will Watts of Kentville made sure the crowd didn’t have to wait long for him to cir­cle back in the 5K road race. The 16-year-old sprinted his way to a solid lead – and stayed there. He fin­ished with a time of 17:21 – a per­sonal best by nearly a minute.

“It felt good. I ran it a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. I don’t ever front run races but to­day I gave it a try and it worked out pretty well,” the NKEC stu­dent re­counted.

“I just knew that some­one was on my tail the whole time and tried to keep that in the back of my head to keep the lead. With­out some­body be­hind me, I’m sure my time would have been a good minute slower.”

Tyler Baker of Mead­ow­vale was hot on his heels, fin­ish­ing in 17:43.

Watts trains with Val­ley Ath­let- ics three times a week and has his sights set on win­ning a pro­vin­cial track and field event in his fi­nal year of high school.

“It’s made a big im­pact with my run­ning in the last few years,” he said. “I’ve come a long way.”

Elite wheelchair racer Ben Brown had first dibs on the track for Val­ley Har­vest, start­ing things off with a solo 10K race that got the crowd warmed up.

“It went well con­sid­er­ing I was sick for two weeks and this is my first week back on full-on train­ing,” the Cam­bridge res­i­dent said af­ter a 28:53 fin­ish.

“It would have been nice to go faster than last year, but I knew go­ing in that to­day was just about get­ting a good, qual­ity work­out in and just stay­ing strong.”

Brown noted im­prove­ments in his hills from last year and felt good about the power in his strokes through­out the race. He’s look­ing to com­pete in Dubai in Fe­bru­ary in pur­suit of qual­i­fy­ing for the world cham­pi­onships.

“I’m very thank­ful Val­ley Har­vest al­lowed me to do the start event and I loved hav­ing the crowd at the fin­ish,” said Brown, who was sur­rounded by run­ners ap­plaud­ing his per­for­mance as soon as he came to a stop.

“Hav­ing that crowd cheer­ing me on at the fin­ish, that is awe­some… I love rac­ing.”

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

There was no short­age of suc­cess sto­ries when run­ners con­gre­gated at Aca­dia Univer­sity in Wolfville for the 2018 Val­ley Har­vest Marathon Oct. 7.

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Lo­cal fire­fight­ers Lisa Richard­son, Paul May­nard, Kathy Bab­cooke and Robin Jensen com­peted in their re­spec­tive Val­ley Har­vest Marathon races wear­ing bunker gear. Richard­son, a long-time run­ner, came up with the idea. She com­pleted the 10K event and the oth­ers added air tanks to their en­sem­ble and tack­led the 5K route.

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Run­ners get set to chase down their re­spec­tive goals at the Val­ley Har­vest Marathon event.

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Elite wheelchair racer Ben Brown, a res­i­dent of Cam­bridge, gets in the zone prior to the start of his 10K Val­ley Har­vest Marathon race.

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Run­ners get in po­si­tion from the get-go to set their pace for the race.

ASH­LEY THOMP­SON

Six­teen-year-old Will Watts of Kentville won the 5K male race, fin­ish­ing with a solid lead and a fi­nal time of 17:21.

The com­mu­nity steps up for Kingston food bank.

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