After two years of cancellations, Maritime Race Weekend returned to Eastern Passage, N.S., on Sept. 16 and 17–but, due to a volunteer shortage leading up to the race, it was not smooth sailing for race director Michelle Kempton.
With the race last held in 2019, Kempton issued a call-out to all of her previous “Pirate Crew” (her volunteers), and only 70 of 350 people were able to help. “We were in desperate need of volunteers to marshall the course and help at the finish area,” says Kempton.
She reached out to all contacts to help make the event possible. Her friends invited friends, and their friends invited friends. They were up to 300 volunteers within a week.
“We were going to be short,” says Kempton. “But this event was going to happen no matter what!”
Weeks before the race, local councillor Becky Kent suggested Kempton reach out to the military. “I didn’t expect anything of it, but 22 members of the Royal Canadian Navy lined the course on both days,” she says. “They covered every side street and helped out with course marshalling.”
The race operated at a 50 per cent smaller capacity after a decision to cap it to give runners more personal space. 2,200 runners from all across Canada and five countries crossed the finish line across the two days of pirate-themed racing.
The best costume went to a runner who completed the race dressed as a pirate ship, with an honourable mention to all the runners who ran with a parrot on their shoulders.
Jarvis Googoo of Nova Scotia’s We’koqma’q First Nation and Canadian 50+ marathon masters record holder Denise Robson won Saturday’s Coastal 10K. Googoo crossed the finished line in a time of 36:55, while Robson was the first female in 38:43.
The moment of the weekend for Kempton was seeing her 18-year-old son, Nathan, finish the 5K in a personal best time.
“The vibe around the weekend was super positive,” Kempton says. “As a race director, we work all year for these two days, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience on our 10th anniversary.”