The organizing committee of Run Merrickville is gearing up to host the group’s Merrickville Heritage Classic at the end of April. The first Merrickville Heritage Classic was organized in 2016 by a group of enthusiastic runners who wanted to bring a race to Merrickville. The Heritage Classic includes a 2km, 5km and 10km run, and people of all ages are encouraged to walk, run or roll through the Village and enjoy a morning of being outdoors. “We have everyone from babies in strollers to the elderly using walkers,” says race director Lori Reynolds. “We want people to be exposed to being active and moving.”
The Merrickville Heritage Classic has drawn around 300 participants to the Village in recent years. Run Merrickville has also organized a “virtual run”, which allows people to participate in the race anywhere in the world. “They send us their run information and we send them a medal,” Lori says. The run has received international attention through Facebook over the past few years, with one of last year’s virtual runners participating all the way from Ireland.
Medals are, once again, being crafted by Merrickville’s own Alloy Foundry. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be given to the top three male and female racers in 5km and 10km races. Everyone else will be receiving a participation medal.
Lori says that the Merrickville-Wolford council, local merchants and community members have been very supportive over the years, and this year is no different. Run Merrickville held a very successful trivia night at the Merrickville Community Centre in February which raised $2,400 for the event. “The energy in the room was palpable,” Lori says. “Everyone was there to have a good time.”
The money will be used to supplement registration fees to pay for things like safety equipment, race bibs, and end of race scones, provided by Nana B’s Bakery. The Heritage Classic has an awesome volunteer base, with lots of people pitching in to make sure the race goes off without a hitch. “We have more volunteers than any other organized event [in the Village],” Lori says.
The Merrickville Heritage Classic is now seen as the unofficial opener to the tourist season in Merrickville. Not only does it encourage residents to participate, it also draws race enthusiasts from all over the Ottawa area, from Kingston and even the U.S.
The 2019 Merrickville Heritage Classic will be held on Saturday, April 27, starting at 8 am. Registration is now open on the Run Merrickville website. Participation in the 2km Blockhouse run costs $25, the 5km Canal run costs $50, and the 10km Jewel of the Rideau run costs $60. Registration fees cover the participation medal, bib and a t-shirt, a new addition this year.
Lori says they are still actively looking for volunteers to help out at the event. More information about volunteering can also be found on the Run Merrickville website.