In the last three years, Maritime Race Weekend has donated $25,000 to local run clubs. I’ve always made annual visits to the groups that have received funding, but this summer I decided to broaden the tour. Over six weeks, I’ll be swinging by the say hang out with twenty run clubs in the Maritimes.
I’m thrilled by the number of runners coming out. The enthusiasm I feel at every stop makes me love my job even more.
It’s great to see most run clubs growing from year to year. Last year, BLT Runners consisted of just a handful of friends – now look the size of their group:
Visiting these groups is a pretty big deal for me. This tour is my way to thank run clubs for their continued support and while having a social visit. I give free running hats to each runner and after the run, we have a Volkswagen tailgate party (just like at the race!). The cold chocolate milk and oranges hit the spot on these hot summer days and the prizes are a real crowd-pleaser too.
It’s great to connect with runners who I see at Maritime Race Weekend every year. Plus this is a great way for me to meet new people too. It means that we can stay connected beyond race day.
I love arriving at a run club to see hard core enthusiasts wearing layers of Maritime Race Weekend gear. Let me explain this. Extreme layering in race swag is something that I encourage– and rewarded. For every Maritime Race Weekend swag item a club member brings, I give them an extra ballot for the draw to win the grand prize for lifetime registration and a pair of Brooks running shoes. Hey, I’m always finding ways to have a bit of fun.
Even torrential downpours haven’t stopped runners from coming out.
I’ve been lucky. All but one visit has happened on a day with beautiful weather. Since most of our volunteers are runners, it gives me a chance to thank the pirate crew and pace bunnies.
While on the road, one runner found me in a parking lot and broke out into a swag dance hoping to score a free hat — that was a fun surprise. I was a fan.
Each run club visit is unique. George Pothier from Halifax Running Club turned 80, so I baked him a birthday cake and we had a surprise party.
Some groups gave me run club shirts, that was unexpected and very thoughtful.
The funniest moment along the tour was when the Riverview Running Idiots said they’d one-up every other club (especially their rival) by giving me homemade gifts. In addition they declared me an “honorary idiot.” Thanks guys, I feel truly blessed. I’ve been invited back to their free club races that include eating a piece of fried chicken and running through a grave yard. These guys know how to have fun, that’s for sure.
Run clubs vary as much as the individual runner. Some clubs focus on performance and others socialize or drink beer. It’s great to see such much diversity – there definitely is a run club for everyone out there. I’m seeing this on this running tour this summer. What a great community to be a part of.