Sarah Higdon is downright inspirational.
When she was in Grade 5, she set a goal of running in the Johnny Miles Classic 5K after taking a learn to run program through Pictou County Athletics. Her family supported her and arrived race day to cheer her on.
“She inspired us all,” smiled mom, Susan.
Now 14, Sarah’s accomplishment has been the impetus for her entire family to lace up their sneakers and get moving.
The Higdon family believes in running together and this year will be no exception. Susan and her husband Chris, along with children Sarah and Jack, 11, will all participate in the Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend coming up Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18. In fact, Susan and Sarah just completed the Miss Miles Mother’s Day 5K Classic, again.
“We love the Johnny Miles because it’s a great community event and has such great community spirit and a wonderful atmosphere,” said Susan.
The first year that Sarah ran the 5K, the entire family went to cheer her on. They weren’t sure what to expect but were blown away with the atmosphere at the start/finish line and the organization of the event itself.
“It’s just such a real community event, so we thought, why not try it ourselves next year,” Susan shrugged.
The next year, she and Chris took a learn to run program through the YMCA of Pictou County. They were then prepared for the next Johnny Miles event and the whole family did the 5K.
This will be their fourth year participating. Chris and Sarah will do the 10K this year while Susan and Jack plan to stick with the 5K. Chris is doing the half marathon this year.
“I did the 5K originally, then set a goal for the 10K,” Chris explained. “I was surprised — it was a little more challenging.”
The next year, he ran the half-marathon — 22 kilometers or 13.1 miles.
“When I did the half marathon Sarah did the 10K.”
Since the family all runs at different paces, they just agree on a meeting spot once their individual races are over and go about their own business for the day.
“The Johnny Miles community is just great and supportive,” Chris praised. “It’s awesome just knowing people are going to be there cheering you on.”
Susan added, “It’s very well run — like a well-oiled machine. And the entry fees are affordable.”
The Higdon kids don’t limit themselves to running. They are both active and talented in other ventures as well. Jack plays soccer and baseball in the summer months and keeps busy with hockey and curling in the winter. He also plays guitar. Sarah plays soccer and figure skates five days a week in addition to playing piano and participating in her school band and choir.
Chris and Susan have also enjoyed the Johnny Miles Resolution Run and Sarah has donned her ugliest sweater for the YMCA Ugly Sweater Run. And in addition to being an avid cyclist, Chris will run in the Bluenose marathon this coming weekend.
While the kids are running in different directions with different interests, as kids their age are wont to do, they all come together with a love of running in the Johnny Miles events.
“It’s something we enjoy doing as a family,” Susan noted.
“It’s quite a sense of accomplishment,” Chris laughed. “You feel like you’re running in the Olympics in the last 500 meters with everyone cheering and being so supportive.”
He said, “We just feel the Johnny Miles Running Event weekend really epitomizes what a community event is all about.”
The Johnny Miles Running Event Weekend takes place Father’s Day weekend, June 17 and 18, in New Glasgow. Other races which are part of the Johnny Miles family include the Miss Miles 5K which was held on Mother’s Day weekend, Run for the Lobster which runs in conjunction with the Pictou Lobster Carnival and will be held this year on July 9, the Melmerby Triathlon being held July 22 and 23 and the annual New Year’s Eve 5K Resolution Run.
For information on any of these events visit johnnymiles.ca.
Chris, left, and Susan Higdon of New Glasgow, right, with their children Sarah and Jack. The Higdons are big fans of the Johnny Miles running events and are looking forward to the annual marathon in June. (Jardine photo)