Celebrating 30 years
Cabot Trail Relay Race to celebrate 30th anniversary next weekend
A well-known and respect relay race in Cape Breton will be celebrating its 30th anniversary when the event kicks off next weekend.
The Cabot Trail Relay Race will mark its 30th year when the event begins next Saturday in Baddeck.
The relay race will feature 70 teams from across the country, starting at the Gaelic College at 7 a.m. on May 27. The 276-km race will see competitors race through 17 stages through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, the Margaree Valley and along various points of the Cabot Trail.
David Parkinson, chair of the organizing committee, said the group is looking forward to being part of the special anniversary.
“Each year brings new memories,” said Parkinson, when asked his most memorable moment of his 23 years of being involved in the race. “The most important thing from our perspective as organizers is that everyone comes to the race and has a great time.”
The annual event has become very successful and very well respected by the running community.
“The event has grown from a very humble beginning to an event that typically has to turn away 10 teams each year,” said Parkinson.
“Part of the Cabot Trail Relay Race’s mission statement is to organize an event that supports the communities around the Cabot Trail,” he said. “We are very proud to show off the Cabot Trail, and hopefully entice runners to return for vacations with their families and friends.”
The race first started in 1988 when six teams of 17 runners per team tested out the idea of running around the Cabot Trail. Since then, over 27,000 runners have participated in the event.
Organizers believe the race has brought close to $8 million
into the communities around the Cabot Trail.
“The people who run in this event absolutely love the race,” said Parkinson. “They love the challenge of the run, and camaraderie with other runners. There are many of these runners who comment to us that the race is the best running event of the running season.”
Last week, a section of the
Cabot Trail was closed following heavy rains, from 207 mm in St. Anns to 176 mm in Baddeck, washed some stretches of the famous route. Roads in other areas were also damaged.
Relay organizers are not anticipating any problems for race weekend.
“We have been in contact with the Department of Transportation,” said Parkinson. “We
have someone from our committee drive around the Cabot Trail on the May long weekend to inspect conditions from a runner’s perspective, and will provide a report of our findings to the runners for information purposes.”
“The only backup plan would be a detour around a portion of the Cabot Trail as directed by site conditions,” he said. “During the event the Cabot Trail is open to the motoring public, we have to follow the rules of the road — if the rules change on account of site conditions, then the CTRR will react accordingly.”
The relay race is expected to wrap up on Sunday at around 9:45 a.m. in front of the court house in Baddeck. Following the race, an awards banquet will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Victoria Highland Civic Centre.
In this Cape Breton Post file photo, Erik McCarthy triumphantly crosses the finish line in Baddeck in May 2016, helping his team, the Maine-Iacs, capture its sixth victory in the 17-leg race. McCarthy finished second in the relay’s final leg.