Runners keep memory alive through Labour Day fun run

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WESTVILLE — The annual Hawboldt/Lays Labour Day road race of old may be gone, but a group of runners in the county weren’t ready to let it fade away just yet.

Kevin Tulloch was one of those runners.

“(The old race) was organized by the Lays family,” Tulloch explained on Monday. “They ran it for 40 years. Last year was the 40th and they said ‘we’ve done our bit’ and so they weren’t going to do it again. Although the Town of Westville were quite keen to help, they didn’t want to take it on. So they were looking for someone to take the event on… but nobody was really able to take it on.”

Through Facebook, he and some other runners decided to take on the race — or at least a fun run interpretation of it.

“It’s just to keep the memory alive — Hawboldt and Lays were fantastic athletes in their day,” Tulloch said, “and there’s a lot of races in Pictou County fallen by the wayside. It gets to the stage where if somebody doesn’t step up to keep these things going there’ll be no events for the kids coming up.”

The race kept the same route, and same five-mile distance, but times became unofficial.

“We just decided to do it as a fun run,” Tulloch said, “because if you start doing results and all that kind of thing it gets really complicated.”

Likewise, the finish line became a bit blurred and appeared to be either the crosswalk, fire hydrant, or Canadian flag outside the Westville Police station, depending on who was asked and who was finishing.

Although the weekend saw temperatures dip drastically, and Monday saw streets and sidewalks painted by puddles, Tulloch said weather of any kind wasn’t a worry.

“Weather doesn’t really bother runners. We’ll run in the rain, run in the wind. I run 365 days a year, as long as I can find something to put my feet on that I’m not going to fall over. As long as it’s safe.”

Organizers expected only a handful of runners, and were pleasantly surprised with the more than 30 runners that turned out.

Tulloch said he, Tony Corbin, Matthew and Emily Fraser, and Dave MacLennan will be keeping the flame of another run — the Vince MacDonald run, held in Trenton — alive in November, although the run will now be in memory of Glenn “Big Dog” Chennell.

Runners set off for a five-mile fun run Monday morning. The event took the place of the former Hawboldt/Lays run which took place for 40 years and ended last year. (Cameron photo)

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