by Chuck MacInnis
Run Merrickville 2019 has come and gone, and organizers are once again thrilled with the turnout, despite the low temperatures and periodic snow.
“The goal of Run Merrickville is to encourage participation in a running and walking event open to all ages and levels of physical fitness, and we certainly achieved this,” said Lori Reynolds following the race. She added 285 people registered for this year’s event.
Following a warm-up in the Community Centre, led by Emily Dickson, the runners were marched to the start gate by piper Callum Gauthier. He handed them into the care of Royal Navy re-enactor and cannoneer Bob Irvine, who then blasted them through the gate to the sound of rolling thunder from his cannon.
The field was populated with eager runners and walkers of all ages. Gail Garland, as promised, completed the 10 km route in her wheel chair! She did this last year as a challenge for herself after completing the 5 km route during the 2017 event. Collette Durand, an event participant since 2016, once again completed the 2 km route with the aid of her walker.
Tavo Stringel, this year’s 5 km Gold Medalist, gets honourable mention. He has been a top contender in the 5 km Canal Run since 2016. He collected Gold in 2016, 2018 and 2019. He grabbed the Silver medal in 2017.
Sally MacInnis said, “The Run Merrickville organizing committee recognizes this event could not take place without the support of our volunteers and sponsors, and we want to thank each and every one of them for their enthusiastic assistance.”
The people of Merrickville-Wolford came out in droves to support the run. There were over 100 volunteers manning barricades and cheering stations, taking photographs, handing out water, or preparing food for the returning runners. Others grabbed a coffee and stood on their porches or sidewalks cheering on the runners.
Businesses and individuals came forward to provide financial assistance and services “in kind”, and even our federal, provincial and local politicians came out to wish the runners well and take part in the event.
Emails directed to the committee also expressed appreciation for the work and enthusiasm of the volunteers. Comments were positive, and in much the same vein as this one from Harry de Roo, “I have run every Merrickville Heritage Classic Run since the start of the event, and each year it gets better. The amount of volunteers and supports scattered throughout the course is amazing! One cannot get lost, disoriented or injured without someone being around to guide, assist or support in some capacity…. or just to cheer you on.”
Runners commented on the professionalism and efficiency of the police, bylaw officer and volunteer fire fighters controlling traffic, and noted the overall enthusiasm of the many volunteers. They gave a special nod of appreciation to the trumpeter at the intersection of Collar Hill and HF McLean Road, who helped boost them up the long grade to the top of Murphy’s Mountain.
As in past years, those who completed the 2K, 5K and 10K events received a handcrafted participation medal as they crossed the finish line. The medal is designed and produced in Merrickville by the Village Metalsmiths.
To see the enthusiasm with which Run Merrickville is received from volunteers and participants, go to www.run-merrickville.ca, and select the ‘2019 Pictures’ tab.
“We have booked for next year, so: Save the Date! Run Merrickville will be back Saturday, April 25, 2020!” said Lori Reynolds.