Miles of smiles

Johnny Miles Fes­ti­val in full swing in Syd­ney Mines with fun events for all ages.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY JULIE COLLINS jcollins@cb­post.com

The 13th an­nual Johnny Miles Fes­ti­val is in full swing with events for all ages.

“Things were slid­ing a bit, so we re­ally ramped up the fes­ti­val this year,” said Eu­gene Ram­sey, with the Johnny Miles Fes­ti­val So­ci­ety.

Ram­sey said com­mu­nity feed­back over the last few years in­di­cated change was needed.

“We re­ally spiced up Fam­ily Day. They wanted more food avail­able, so we de­cided to fire up the bar­be­cues. We’ve added new events, much bet­ter prizes and amped up the sig­na­ture events,” he said. “Peo­ple will just have to come down to the fes­ti­val and see for them­selves. We have new peo­ple, new ideas, and it shows in our events.”

This year the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee mixed it up with some new, ex­cit­ing games for chil­dren of all ages.

Fel­low or­ga­nizer Rose Mac­Don­ald added that young­sters should be de­lighted with the ad- di­tions to Kid­sfest.

“There are new games for Kid­sfest and we know the young­sters will be de­lighted. Games like Blinko and chuck-aball that take some con­cen­tra­tion, but are ex­cit­ing and fun.”

The fo­cus has al­ways been to rec­og­nize and hon­our Syd­ney Mines home­town hero, Johnny Miles.

“With­out him we wouldn’t have a fes­ti­val,” Ram­sey said. “The Johnny Miles 5k Road Race is get­ting big­ger the last few years.”

Reg­is­tra­tion for the road race is Satur­day at 9 a.m. at the John J. Nu­gent Fire­men’s Cen­tre, El­liott Street. The race be­gins at 10 a.m. with a re­cep­tion to fol­low with re­fresh­ments and award pre­sen­ta­tions.

Miles earned his way into the record books with his sur­pris­ing win at the Bos­ton Marathon in 1926, the first of two ti­tles for the Syd­ney Mines na­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to his­to­ri­ans, the field at the 1926 Bos­ton Marathon in­cluded four-time win­ner Clarence DeMar and 1924 Olympic cham­pion Al­bin Sten­roos, whom Miles idol­ized.

Miles ar­rived at the marathon as an un­known, com­pet­ing in a hand­made sin­glet adorned with a maple leaf and the letters “NS” for Nova Sco­tia and a pair of 98cent sneak­ers.

In 1982, he was made a mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada. He was in­ducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Nova Sco­tia Sport Hall of Fame.

“Most of the events take place at the Pitt Street com­plex, but there are some ex­cep­tions. For lo­ca­tion and time of events you can pick up a brochure at most busi­nesses,” Mac­Don­ald said. “This fes­ti­val is for the commu- nity and we ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port we re­ceive each year.”

JULIE COLLINS/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Rose Mac­Don­ald, left, and Eu­gene Ram­sey, mem­bers of the Johnny Miles Fes­ti­val So­ci­ety, in­vite ev­ery­one to visit Syd­ney Mines and take part in the 13th an­nual Johnny Miles Fes­ti­val which con­tin­ues un­til Sun­day.

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