It may be the pirate cheerleaders or the post-race recovery pickles. Perhaps it’s the Atlantic beer chilling on ice and served by pirates from a canoe. Unequivocally, though, Maritime Race Weekend stands out.
Starting and finishing in Fisherman’s Cove, a wharf and fishing village only 10 minutes from Halifax, there are four races to choose from: the Sunset 5K on Friday night, and the Sunrise 5K, Coastal 10K and Scenic Half-Marathon start simultaneously on Saturday morning. Runners seeking a challenge may attempt the popular Tartan Twosome, which involves running a race on both days. People from the community line the streets with cowbells and encourage runners along the coastal routes.
There are fiddlers, highland dancers, local performers and, of course, pirates greeting the finishing runners. The pirate theme definitely sets this event apart. Costumes aren’t mandatory, but they add to the fun and are strongly encouraged, with cash prizes for the best pirate costumes. The race kits and medals are second to none. A tailgate party awaits racers at the finish line, with sponsors peppering racers with replenishments, including chocolate milk, local artisanal toasted bagels, hot popcorn, fresh fruit, electrolyte-filled pickles and of course beer. A new feature this year was the Rogers Kitchen Party: a two-hour East Coast concert included with registration.
The festivities and community feel of the weekend, coupled with the courses’ scenic and fast routes, have runners come from far away to race. After downing the free local brew, with aching legs and fiddle jigs singing in their minds, many racers jump in the Atlantic Ocean’s shallow cove to cool off. There is no better ice bath, and it’s part of the unique experience only found in Nova Scotia.
Join in the fun. Next year, Maritime Race Weekend will be held on September 11 and 12, in Halifax.