Since 1985 people have been running the 10-stage relay from Halifax to Lunenburg known as the Rum Runners Relay. This mainstay of the Nova Scotia running community is a must-do event. Some of our club members have raced in this event before, but given the young age of our club, this was the first time we entered a BLT Runners team. With the challenging terrain and rolling hills along the south shore, our members certainly rose to the occasion on race day. On top of that, we had a lot of fun. Below is a brief recap.
Leg 1 – Tracy Belliveau
Leg 1 of this great event starts at Prospect Road Community Centre and finishes in Lakeside at the Community Centre for a total of 13.6 kilometres. Tracy, an accomplished marathoner and endurance runner, got our team off to a solid start placing 61st with a time of 1:18:07 (5:45/km).
Leg 2 – Dave Gallant
Dave ran the leg most familiar to BLT Runners club members, as it goes straight through Lakeside and Timberlea along the St. Margaret’s Bay Road. Starting at Lakeside Community Centre, this leg includes a gradual but steady climb up to the finish at Sheldrake Lake Metro transit terminal for a total of 8.3 km. As Dave approached the corner into the finishing shoot, a shadow emerged from behind. Knowing a challenger was close on his tail, Dave picked up the pace to maintain his place, finishing 37th with a time of 45:20 (5:28/km).
Leg 3 – Heather Travis
Heather was on leg 3, which goes from the Sheldrake Lake Metro transit terminal and ends at the former fire hall at the Head of Saint Margaret’s Bay. This 11.2 kilometre leg is unique as the only leg which partially diverts from the highway and onto a trail. Heather clocked in at 1:00:29 (5:24/km pace), good for 53rd spot.
Leg 4 – Kevin Cody
Kevin, a veteran of 25 marathons, was a solid pick for he longest leg of the race. At 17.1 km, Leg 4 is rated as the most difficult leg of the entire relay. No problem for Kevin. Kevin held his own on the hilly and typically hot leg (due to a lack of shade along the coast) from Head St. Margaret’s to Queensland Beach, placing 45th, with a mad sprint to the end to hold his position in a time of 1:25:07 (4:59/km).
Leg 5 – Tom Burt
While leg 3 is the shortest of the relay, it’s by no stretch an easy one. Runners go hard for 3.8 kilometres along a hilly stretch from Queensland to the Hubbards Yacht Club. The finish is a hard left hand turn then down a very steep 200m driveway. In another sprint to the finish, Tom edged out his challenger holding 41st with a time of 20:59 (5:31/km).
Leg 6 – Scott Keeping
In this difficult leg, runners face a steep uphill start in Hubbards, then gradually climb for about 8km until they reach the peak of the course. From there runners go back downhill for nearly 3km toward the finish at Louisiana Pacific Canada Limited boxboard plant in East River with the last 900m being a steep descent. Scott ran steady on the way up, then picked up the pace along the final 2km with his usual strong finishing kick. He finished the 10.8km in 51:34 (4:46/km), good for 17th place.
Leg 7 – Stacey Durling
Leg 7 features a number of large uphills and downhills between East River and Chester, making it arguably the toughest leg on the relay with over 120m of climbing in just a short 9.4km span. No problem for Stacey, who placed 18th overall and was the 3rd female to cross the line with a time of 43:05 (4:35/km).
Leg 8 – Stephan Richard
For leg 8 from Chester to Western Shore we handed the baton to Stephan Richard, who was just coming off a fast and personal best 10k time at Maritime Race Weekend. This leg features rolling hills and one large hill in the first half before flattening out towards the end. With our team also operating one of two water stops on this leg, Stephan received some up-close cheering as he went by. Stephan did not disappoint, finishing up the 12.9km course in 1:00:47 (4:43/km) placing 22nd.
Leg 9 – Tom Boyce
Tom took the second last leg of the day, running from Western Shore Municipal Wharf through Martins River and finishing at the Municipal Wharf in Mahone Bay. Scarecrow festival in Mahone Bay made the final part of this leg particularly challenging with parked cars and lots of foot traffic. Tom managed to navigate his way through spectacularly, finishing the 12.6km leg in 41st with a time of 1:06:09 (5:15/km).
Leg 10 – Craig Durling
Team Captain and club President Craig Durling was last to run, taking on leg 10 from Mahone Bay to Lunenburg for 10.9km. Craig held his ground in a tough field including a very steep climb before entering the town of Lunenburg and cruised downhill to the finish to take 13th with a time of 44:26 (4:05/km).
Overall the team finished 31st with a combined time of 9:16:03 including no time penalties for rule infractions, good for an average pace of 5:02/km. Several other BLT Runners also raced in the event with other teams including Ian Loughead, Heather Lee Callaghan, Marg Organ, Pat Bradley, Susan Horton, and Bruce Gallagher. Official results can be found on the Rum Runners Relay website.
Next year we will be back with at least two team entries!