Blue­berry Run a suc­cess, say or­ga­niz­ers

Par­tic­i­pa­tion up in Har­bour Grace run­ning event

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

Or­ga­niz­ers pleased

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.

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