Blueberry Run a success, say organizers
Participation up in Harbour Grace running event
The threat of Hurricane Ophelia touching down on the Avalon Peninsula did not deter the 97 runners who showed up in Harbour Grace for the 10-kilometre Blueberry Harvest Run Sunday, Oct. 2.
Dozens more took part in noncompetitive three-and five-kilometre events.
The wind and rain promised for the weekend did not make an appearance, but a light mist made its presence known, making the course a bit slick, but not enough to pose a danger to the eclectic group of runners.
From the starting whistle, a group of runners from the Memorial University cross-country team broke away from the pack, and were never challenged after that.
Male runners Jordan Fewer and Michael King were shoulder-toshoulder the entire way.
Racing down Harvey Street, it was not clear who would wind up crossing the finish line first, but in the end it was Fewer who came out on top with a time of 33 minutes, 39 seconds.
Kate Vaughn, who fell short of a new women’s record by less than a minute, said the wet conditions were a help to her running.
“It wasn’t too hot to run, and it wasn’t too cold,” she said.
Vaughn, who runs with the Memorial University cross-country team, was using the Blueberry run as a tuneup for a half marathon she is preparing to run in Toronto next month.
Fewer, who is the nephew of multi-time Tely 10 champion Colin Fewer, said the Blueberry Harvest Run is always something he looks forward to.
“The course is good, it has flats and hills, everything you want as a runner,” said Fewer.
The top local runner to finish was Don Howell from Small Point with a time of 39:52.2, placing first among males ages 50-59.
Trevor Lowe from Clarke’s Beach finished with a time of 42:20.7, and first place in the 40-49 division (male).
Lowe was followed closely by Whitbourne’s Dennis Flood, who finished second in the male age 50-59 division with a time of 44:19.1.
In the female division, Dawn Wheadon of Western Bay placed 31st overall with a time of 51:16.1, while Allison Somers of Carbonear was 37th. Somers stopped the clock at 53:06.9, and was first among females 19 and under.
Deanne Hiscock of Coley’s Point was 39th in a time of 53:16.8. Elizabeth Evely of Carbonear had a time of 54:06.2.
Pat Collins, president of the Trinity-Conception Athletic Club, said he was “ very pleased with the amount of runners who came out.”
The last couple of years were rough for the annual road race, but Collins said he felt like the Blueberry Run this year experienced a resurgence.
At one point, there was doubt about the event’s survival, with the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association (NLAA) stripping the run of its official status.
“ Where we lost our status with NLAA, we were very pleased with the comeback,” Collins said.
Apart from the competitive runners, there were 10 people who walked the 10-kilometre course and 80 children from Davis Elementary and Harbour Grace Primary, who ran three kilometres.
“ To see the older ones out and walking was great,” said Collins. “ It shows you can still compete, but you can also have fun too.”
Salvaging the race
Losing the affiliation with the NLAA was something Collins said shouldn’t have happened.
“ We didn’t attend a meeting in St. John’s that we should have,” he said.
When it looked like the race was going to falter, the new executive of the Trinity-Conception Athletic Club stepped in to save it.
The first thing they tackled was volunteers.
“ We put out a call through The Compass, and didn’t know how it was going to go,” said Collins. “ We challenged people to meet and not lose this special event.
“ We challenged the community to keep the race going.”
The community answered the call, he noted.
It was not just people from Harbour Grace, but also the surrounding communities.
Members of the swim club in Carbonear made themselves available, as did the volunteer fire department in Harbour Grace. Collins said there were 25-30 volunteers. The Town of Harbour Grace also stepped up and agreed to cover the event under its insurance, added Collins.
The following is summary of race results:
Every runner wants to have a good start, and the runners of the 28th annual Blueberry Harvest Run are no different. They all took off at the sound of the whistle in hopes of capturing the coveted first place blueberry pie.