Run Blue Mountains, Run through the Apple Country

04 Jul 2014 13:05
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview
Heading up Grey Road 2...

Hello, on October 19th 2014, you’ll be organizing the Run Blue Mountains Half Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

Run Blue Mountains is, in fact, a set of several races — half marathon, 10K and 5K, all of which take place on Sunday morning, October 19th in Thornbury, Ontario, on the shore of Georgian Bay, about 160 km north of Toronto and 22 km west of Collingwood, Ontario.

We will also have 10K and 5K power walks and, of course, the 1K Kids’ Fun Run.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

Last year, our Thornbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club took over this race that had run in Collingwood for 3 or 4 years, having been created to provide race opportunities for local runners and to raise money for several causes, including support for programs that promote healthy lifestyles for children and youth. We moved the route to Thornbury and this will be our second year of running the event on our own.

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What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Thornbury lies at the mouth of the Beaver River. The Beaver Valley is an apple growing area, and the half marathon route winds through Thornbury and Clarksburg and then out into the valley and back again.

We describe the race as “a run through Apple Country” and the route is quite picturesque and interesting. Fall colours will be nearing their end and the apple harvest will be almost finished. We cross the Beaver River twice along the route. There is some elevation in the course — it is a gradual climb to about the halfway point, then steadily back down and into town to the start/finish line, located at the Beaver Valley Community Centre.

The start of the Half Marathon....

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

We had 250 runners last year in our first event and we are planning for 500 runners this year. Response and reviews from last year’s runners were outstanding, and many/most said they’d be back … with friends! Our route is NOT “flat and fast” — it IS beautiful, challenging and interesting, and … the community support and interest are excellent!

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

As indicated above, we also include 10K and 5K runs and 10K and 5K power walks. We had about 40 enthusiastic kids in the 1K Kids Fun Run last year and expect even more this year.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

The race takes place on the first Sunday after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and the weather can be unpredictable. Last year, although it had been rainy for most of the week before, on race morning, things dried up and the sun came out, creating a beautiful morning for a run, as seen in the photos on the website.

Have you planned festivities around the race?

I’m not sure I would call it “festivities” around the race, but the start/finish line is at the Beaver Valley Community Centre in Thornbury, where there is LOTS of free parking and where we will have music, race photographer, lots of great food, apples and perhaps other displays and vendors.

We were delighted with the enthusiasm of the public for our races last year — many came out to cheer on the runners (which was a great experience for the runners). We will encourage and expect that the response and support of our community will be just as great this year.

And......the FINISH LINE.....!!

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Thornbury before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

The Beaver Valley in the fall is a wonderful place to be. As indicated, the apple harvest will just be wrapping up. Fall colours will be on the decline, but likely still impressive. Georgian Bay will be cool for swimming, but still beautiful to be around. The fall run of fish coming up the Beaver River through the fish ladder in town could still be going.

We are spoiled by having more good restaurants in town than most towns our size! Hopefully, lots of runners will stay to take advantage of this fact. Although we don’t have many motel/hotel rooms here in town, there are lots within 20 minutes of here. It would be a GREAT place to spend a fall weekend.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Run Blue Mountains Half Marathon?

Run Blue Mountains, with its “country” feel and its attention to detail, is a perfect event for the runner who has had enough city streets and thousands or runners — it really IS “a run through Apple Country”!!

Interview with Gerry McGregor, president of the Thornbury-Clarksburg Rotary Club and marketing chair for Run Blue Mountains. He and his wife have lived in Thornbury for 35 years and he’s been a Rotarian for 32 of those years. Although not a runner himself, he LOVES the concept and the potential of this event and he is proud of their efforts thus far in making Run Blue Mountains a GREAT experience for the runners and their families!