29th running a Fall Classic indeed
September 26th, 2011

From today's Daily Gleaner:

Even though two provincial runners were crowned champions, Sunday was a day for all to remember. From the young and old to veterans and rookies, runners of all sorts laced up their sneakers and took part in the 29th running of the Fredericton Fall Classic Road Race.

The annual event saw a number of changes this year, including the introduction of a 21.1K half-marathon event, the hosting of the 10K provincial championship and a more prominent youth portion. The new races brought out more fans to Queen Square on Sunday morning and, more importantly, more runners.

With the 460 registered athletes and the 50 or so 1K Irving Kids' Run participants, the event hosts, the Capital City Road Runners, were proud to announce the largest showing at a Fall Classic to date.

Lee Roy of Beresford was the fastest New Brunswicker in the men's 10K, crossing the finish line with a 35 minutes 26 second time to capture the provincial title.

Click to Enlarge
Chuck Dixon of Sackville, centre, poses for a photo with his wife Mary Dixon, left, and sister Cathy Jeffrey, right, after placing first in the half marathon portion of the the 2011 Fall Classic Road Race Sunday morning. After finishing his race, Dixon returned to finish the race with his wife and sister to show his support.

Roy braved the 26-degree heat to extend his lead over Justin Young in the men's 20-29 bracket of the Run New Brunswick Running Room Super Series Standings. Young finished second in the provincial race with a time of 36:40.

Roy, 29, said he was a little off pace during his run, but was still surprised with his strong finish after only beginning to run competitively a year ago.

"I knew I was a good runner when I started. I could already run under 40 (minutes) without training. I put the time in," he said looking back on his hard training regimen. "I put in a lot of miles. A lot of quality work and hill work."

Despite impressive performances in the heat from Roy and Young, Halifax's Robert Jewer outclassed his New Brunswick counterparts, taking first place overall with 34:26 finish.

Nova Scotians swept the 10K event as Rayleen Hill of Dartmouth took home first overall on the women's side with a 36:51 time. Miramichi's Paula Keating took home the provincial title with her 37:03 time, while Josianne Guay of Edmunston stopped the clock at 41:59 to place second in the N.B. championship.

Chuck Dixon of Sackville won the Fall Classic's first half-marathon event with 1:17:15 finish, four seconds ahead of New Maryland's Ryan O'Shea, who clocked a 1:21:43. Mike Davis of Fredericton placed third, finishing at 1:27:16.

Kathy Wilson of New Maryland took home top honours in the women's division with a 1:33:51 time for the half marathon. Heather Suttie of Fredericton finished in second at 1:34:15, while Kaitlyn Sweeney, also from Fredericton, was third with a 1:36:43 finish.

Race director Karen Roberts was pleased with the new additions to the Fall Classic. She said the anticipated event was well-received by its 120 runners and expects it to grow in future years.

She said the 10K provincial event also helped raised the profile of the Classic and is excited to hold the race again next year.

"It was nice to do it this year and see exactly how it's done. It's been a few years since we had provincials in our city."

Roberts was also surprised with the spike in youth numbers for the 1K Irving Kids' Run, 5K high school race and the 3K middle school challenge.

"I think we'll see some better results next year. They were really excited," she said.

George Street Middle School captured the top combined score, while Bliss Carman Middle School held the highest participation.

Among the 3K runners was 13-year-old MacKenzie Sharkey of Oromocto. Sharkey, cheered on by her mother, Althea Arsenault, and golden retriever, Style, persevered through the humidity and a nasty stitch in her side to cross the finish line at 16:10.

"I thought I would do a little bit better," she said. "I got a huge cramp in the middle and couldn't breathe, but after that it got better."

Sharkey said she enjoyed running the event, despite the nagging side pain, and will definitely take part next year.

When asked why she likes the sport, she replied: "There's no good reason for it; I just like to run."

AUS Cross Country

Runners from the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and St. Thomas Tommies finished fourth and fifth in the team results in men's portion of the Atlantic University Sport men's and women's cross country meet at Acadia University in Wolfville on the weekend. UNB finished fourth with a team total of 87 points, led by veteran Alex Coffin of Saint John, who finished fifth overall in 26 minutes, 42.90 seconds.

STU's team total of 144 points was good enough for fifth.

Patrick Cormier was the top STU counter, 21st overall in 29:19.85.

StFX won the men's race with a team total of just 16 points, finishing first through fourth with their first four counters. Their fifth counter was sixth overall. Connor McGuire led the way in a time of 26:08.95.

StFX also won the women's race with a team total of 20 points. UNB and STU runners were fifth and sixth as a team respectively, UNB with a team total of 126 points, led by the 11th place finish of Kaitlyn Sweeney in 21.35.95 and STU with a total of 139 points, with Kayla Tanner leading the way in a time of 22:30.75.