Maybe it’s our inhospitable winters that create an environment that promotes toughness. It might also have to do with the commitment consistently shown by a growing group of Masters runners in Muskoka, members of our local running club, Muskoka Algonquin Runners(MARS). Whatever it is, it was on display Sunday, at the Oldest Road Race in North America (since 1894), The Around The Bay 30K. Sixteen club members, and 35 runners total from the region, competed in the race. All these runners have slogged it out through an incredibly brutal and cold winter, with only a few steps on dry ground before race day.
7277 runners participated in the race. 13 MARS members ran the 30K and another 3 participated in the relay. 7 MARS runners finished in the top 150 overall, all under 2:04 and 4 won a prestigious gold medal for finishing in under 2 hours. Chris Watson and Troy Cox led the way for the men, running 1:56:10 and 1:56:12 and finishing 63 and 64th overall, and both 5th in their age categories. Not far behind were Mark Sinnige, Pierre Mikhail and Lowell Greib in 81st, 90th and 139th place with times of 1:58:10, 1:58:57 and 2:03:21. Leading the way for the women were Katherine Ahokas and Jess Sheppard in 2:03:35 and 2:03:45, placing 12th and 13th overall amongst ALL women. We expect big things from these runners in Boston in three weeks at the marathon! Other MARS members having great runs today were Rebecca Francis, Jennifer Nicholson, Sharon Bennett, Erin Gaughan, Brian Gray, Deanna Lavigne and Madeleine Robins. Relay runners Gail Tusz, Tina Steele and Catherine Smith were impressive finishing 41st out of 252 teams. And finally, an impressive contingent of athletes from TriMuskoka participated in the event as well. Congratulations to all of these athletes.
MARS will remain busy throughout this spring. In 3 weeks, 8 of the club’s runners are headed for Boston for the Boston Marathon. Following this, the following week the club will launch a 9 week Fun Run Series starting Tuesday April 28 at 6 pm. The first run will be along the Hunters Bay Trail and will be just under 5K. All level of runners are welcome. The runs are free to club members or $5 for non-members. Details on these runs can be found at the club’s website www.muskokaalgonquinrunners.com.
Following this Spring Fun Run Series, MARS will continue organized runs for members through the summer and then will continue its support of The Huntsville Hoyas High School Cross Country Team and their annual race, the Hoya Hills XC Invitational, tentatively slated for September 28, 2015. The club participates in The Ontario Masters XC Series beginning in late September, for runners 30 or older. All level and age of runners are welcome to this series. Details can be found here.
Finally, MARS will be taking 6 high school aged kids to the wonderful Craftsbury Outdoor Center in northern Vermont to attend Craftsbury’s High School Cross Country Running Camp. The camp’s head coach is Olympic medalist and 3 time World Cross Country champion, Lynn Jennings. There are still spots available for this camp. The group will be gone June 27-July 4. Details can be found here. Any child in or entering high school may attend. See you on the roads……