Praising the Blueberry run
Carbonear native Johnathan McDonald had one thing in mind when he finished his sixth Blueberry Harvest Run in Harbour Grace.
You see, after finishing a 10kilometre race like one he’d just done, a cheat meal was in order. Actually, it served more as a celebration of what he and his girlfriend had just accomplished.
And, they went for the top prize.
What they got was a bucket of some of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s finest dishes along with a chicken wrap and a burger.
“We got a bit of everything,” McDonald told The Compass last week.
Fast food celebrations aside, he had nothing but high praise for the return of the Harbour Grace 10k.
“It just ran so perfectly,” said McDonald. “It was like a welloiled machine.”
He finished second in the 29 and under male category with a time of 53 minutes. He was one of over 150 runners who took part in the event on Sept. 18.
He offered high praise for race organizer Pamela Whelan and the rest of her committee. McDonald noted simple touches like spray paint at vari- ous points along the course that made it easier on the runners. “It was just fantastic,” he said. The Blueberry Run is always one McDonald has circled on his calendar. There’s a combination of factors that play into that.
One, it’s one of his local races, which is something he’s always looking to support.
Another is that the running community in Conception Bay North is a tight one. He organized the race a couple of years ago and in that time he became friends with members of the committee, which spawned camaraderie amongst them.
He often checks in to see their progress, compare times and just see who they’re doing.
“It’s a close knit community,” said McDonald. “It’s really motivating. I know a lot of the people and a lot of the runners. At the Blueberry Run, it’s just so relaxed. You’re chit-chatting with everyone beforehand.”
A great course
In McDonald’s eyes, the Blueberry Run is a “perfectly made up 10k” course. It’s a mixture of hills, flat terrain and scenic vistas.
“It’s right through the town of Harbour Grace,” he said of the course that takes athletes from the middle of town near the fire hall to Alberta Drive, up to the Riverhead Irving and back again. “You get a bit of everything. Being that were in Newfoundland, we’re in Harbour Grace and a large portion of the race is run down by the water, you are going to face the wind and get a bit of a headwind to contend with.
“It’s the perfect mixture.”
McDonald points to the hill leading to Harvey Street in Riverhead as one of his favourite parts of the race. It’s a challenging slope that moves into a relatively flat final stage.
“The last two kilometres are so fun,” he said.
As long as the Blueberry Run is on the go, McDonald believes he’ll take his shot at running the course.
In fact, he hopes Whelan and the rest of her committee keeps it exactly the same.
“I hope it continues, I hope Pam Whelan continues to run it, she’s the perfect person for it and I think they keep everything the same,” said McDonald.
Carbonear native Johnathan McDonald (right) receives his second place banner from Sheila Osmond.