Still run­ning strong

Johnny Miles Me­mo­rial 5k Road Race re­mains pop­u­lar af­ter 29 years

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON news@cb­post.com

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.

EL­IZ­A­BETH PAT­TER­SON/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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