Hawboldt-Lays races halted

Pictou Advocate sports

WESTVILLE — The streak of Labour Day road races in memory of Jimmie Hawboldt and Fred Lays has officially ended.

That has not stopped some local runners from attempting to sustain the tradition with an informal five-mile run starting at 9 a.m. on Monday from the usual start and finish beside Victoria Park on Queen Street.

“A few of us from the tri club are planning on running,” Kevin Tulloch said. “We thought it would be a shame to see this event disappear so we will run the route, obeying all traffic rules of course, and see what happens from there.”

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Westville recreation co-ordinator Clare Steele confirmed that no one has offered to succeed Andrea MacEachern’s leadership with her husband Bill MacEachern in organizing the event for 28 years. The MacEacherns decided to step down in 2016 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the race day.

A special five-mile fun run with no registrations or times recorded replaced the customary one-mile and five-mile races run in previous years.

“At the race last year Andrea said that it would be the last if someone didn’t step forward to take the lead,” Steele said. “That didn’t happen so we will not be having a race this year. If someone from the community steps forward in years to come, the town would be more than happy to support the event in any way.”

Hawboldt was renowned as Nova Scotia’s top five-mile runner during his prime. He was given permanent possession of the Antigonish Highland Games Society’s five-mile race trophy that was first awarded in 1919 after he won it three straight years from 1924 to 1926.

He is also remembered for defeating provincial marathon king Johnny Miles in a five-mile duel in 1926.

Lays excelled at numerous sports that included curling, running, cycling and swimming and was cited for his dedication to encouraging others.

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Steve Goodwin
Steve Goodwin was born in Amherst, N.S. and has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He has been a resident of Pictou County for nearly 40 years.