Still running strong
Johnny Miles Memorial 5k Road Race remains popular after 29 years
When Gail Gibbons was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer a few years ago, she didn’t know what the future would hold but she did know one thing for sure.
She wasn’t giving up. On Saturday, Gibbons was among the participants taking part in this year’s Johnny Miles 5k run. Although she grew up in Sydney Mines, she now lives in Port Hawkesbury. She drove down so she could take part in the event as a walker. After a hard-fought battle with cancer, she’s almost two years free of the illness that had left her debilitated and that alone is worth celebrating with a stroll through town.
“Two years ago I couldn’t walk the length of my body,” said Gibbons on Saturday, moments before the race began. “I’ve been walking every day and being from Sydney Mines and Johnny Miles was today so I thought I would give it a try.”
Gibbons walks regularly and credits regular exercise for helping her to get back on her feet. Taking part in Saturday’s event was a way to complete her own personal finish line against cancer.
“I have nothing to lose.” Gibbons was among about 75 people who took part in what has become an annual event in Sydney Mines. It commemorates the exploits of Sydney Mines native, Johnny Miles, who won the Boston Marathon in 1926 and again in 1929.
Those who attended this year’s event saw runners and walkers move through the streets of Sydney Mines. The overall winner of this year’s event was Justin Lalanne with a time of 17:06.
According to festival co-ordinator Kim Rideout, the whole festival is shaping up to be one of the best ever in its 29-year history.
“The enthusiasm was amazing,” she says. “The race went well and we’ve had a lovely turnout for the car show, music and barbecue as well.”
Festival chair Eugene Ramsay says the race is the culmination of a lot of hard work that goes into the festival.
“It’s exciting for us to see the amount of runners that turn up here every year and how enthusiastic they are and that makes our job all worthwhile.”
The festival was scheduled to conclude on Sunday with a closing concert and fireworks.
And they’re off. Participants of all ages taking part in Saturday’s annual Johnny Miles 5k race head down Main Street in Sydney Mines.