CLOS­EST FIN­ISH EVER

Records bro­ken and his­tory made at the 30th an­nual Cabot Trail Re­lay Race

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN ni­cole­j­sul­li­van@icloud.com

It was another suc­cess­ful year for the an­nual Cabot Trail Re­lay Race.

It was the 30th year for the Cabot Trail Re­lay Race and pos­si­bly the clos­est fin­ish of the last leg of the race in its his­tory.

Only five sec­onds sep­a­rated the first two run­ners to cross the fin­ish line.

James Mur­phy from the Like Fine Wine Bet­ter With Age, UNB Cross Coun­try Alumni team, pushed through first with a time of 1:05.52. On his heels was Nick Cro­ker from Toronto’s Black Lung team, with a time of 1:05.57.

Pain and agony were on the faces of both run­ners as they fell to their knees im­me­di­ately after cross­ing the fin­ish line. How­ever, once they caught their breath, their ex­cite­ment and hap­pi­ness were ev­i­dent.

“It feels pretty good,” said Mur­phy. “I didn’t know where I was, I was aching, dy­ing a lit­tle. The hills were the hard­est. I didn’t study the map be­fore so I didn’t know what was com­ing”

Cro­ker, whose all-male team came sec­ond over­all, ad­mits he did push his body to the limit.

“I did throw up a bit, so I feel a bit sick, but it feels so good at the end. It makes the beer taste bet­ter,” he said.

“The fi­nal 100 me­tres is so amaz­ing. Amaz­ing to have the sup­port of the whole town.”

Cro­ker was re­fer­ring to the peo­ple who line up to cheer on the run­ners as they fin­ish. Chalk draw­ings and words of en­cour­age­ment cov­ered the road while close to 100 peo­ple from other teams and the vil­lage of Baddeck lined the sides, scream­ing and clap­ping for each run­ner who passed them on the home stretch.

“Com­ing through there was the best thing that’s ever hap­pened to me in run­ning,” James Forsey of Syd­ney said. “That was just amaz­ing.”

Dave Parkin­son, chair of the com­mit­tee that or­ga­nizes the Cabot Trail Re­lay Race, said the en­ergy cre­ated by peo­ple wait­ing to greet the run­ners is leg­endary among peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate in the event.

“It’s in­fec­tious — the whole town is into it,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool thing to be a part of.”

Teams come from all over to par­tic­i­pate in this event, not just the Mar­itimes. Many are from On­tario, a few are from the U.S. and this year they had a cou­ple of run­ners from Aus­tralia.

“There was a team this year, called I Thought You Said Rum, who have two run­ners on there from Aus­tralia. They’re here on a work term,” said Parkin­son. “They called this race their dream race. I don’t know where else you hear that. It feels good to hear that.”

Parkin­son said even though it is a mile­stone year for the event, for the or­ga­niz­ers it’s just another year. The big achieve­ment for them is get­ting ev­ery­one through it, from the run­ners, to the vol­un­teers and the or­ga­niz­ers.

“The weather was ter­ri­ble this year. But ev­ery­one made it. They made it through the dark and the fog and the cold. That’s fan­tas­tic. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Two records were bro­ken this year. The first was for leg 11, which goes from the top of French Moun­tain in the High­lands and ends near Trout Brook Camp­ground, just past the Cheti­camp vis­i­tor cen­tre. Set in 1999, the orig­i­nal record was 47:54 and Erik McCarthy from the MaineIacs ran it in 43:48.

“It’s quite re­mark­able to drop four min­utes from that leg,” Parkin­son said.

The other record bro­ken was for leg 16, which starts at the Lakes Restau­rant in Mar­ga­ree Val­ley and fin­ishes at the churches in Mid­dle River. Another Maine-lacs mem­ber broke that record. It was Dan Vasallo who clocked 48:11 for that leg, more than a minute faster than the record set in 2011.

NIKKI SUL­LI­VAN/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Run­ner James Mur­phy pushes hard to cross the fin­ish line first for this year’s Cabot Trail Re­lay Race. Close be­hind him is Nick Cro­ker from Toronto.

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