Prais­ing the Blue­berry run

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER TC ME­DIA nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Car­bon­ear na­tive Johnathan McDon­ald (right) re­ceives his sec­ond place ban­ner from Sheila Os­mond.

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