As a father of four very active young children I am always looking for activities and events that are “kid friendly”. Also at least two of my four children, Koa and Ava share their father’s passion for running. A big challenge is finding events that not only meet your own expectations as a runner but also have activities that will be enjoyed by the whole family.
So far most of my own personal races have been of the trail variety and had very limited family options. One that supposedly was going to have a kid race ended up not having the race. This year as I look to expand my running horizons now living in Manitoba, events that have activities, options, or locales that are exciting for my family, will be factors.
With this I have decided to feature events that do provide an exciting experience for both the adult and youth runners. These will include a Q&A with the race directors to provide insight into why these events are must do races for those seeking a destination family race.
The initial race to be featured is not only a race but a weekend filled with activities, Maritime Race Weekend. Race Director Michelle Kempton has created a spectacular event held in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. This is a true east coast location; a weekend here will never be forgotten. Trust me, our family friends out east are among the regulars who enjoy the course that features amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and the harbour views of Halifax.
Held September 15th and 16th, 2017 this is a great destination race. Located only minutes from Halifax there are many historical sites and other adventures to check out prior or post-race. From the nearly 200 year old Alexander Keith’s Brewery to Citadel Hill, or a traditional Lobster Dinner, there are so many options to explore.
Be sure to check out Maritime Race Weekend’s site and start making your plans for an East Coast Canadian adventure. Wait did I say pirates? Oh yeah and there are pirates. I will leave it to Michelle to fill you in with more details.
Tell me about your background in running and how you got into race directing?
I started running 8 years ago to lose weight. Unfortunately I’ve been plagued with injuries (Achilles, ankle fracture, meniscus, hamstring and now osteoarthritis in my spine) the last 3 years, so my running is at a minimum. Instead of running for distance, I now run 20-30 minutes at a time. But I’ve got a wall with about 100 medals of events I ran. I love being in events and the energy from running in a big group.
So how did Maritime Race Weekend come to be?
I was looking for a career change after 15 years in the Information Technology industry. Running was a big part of my life; I decided to turn my passion into a job. I have a background in marketing and lots of ideas.
Pirates and bounty? Does anyone get forced to walk the plank?
No one’s walked the plank yet! We do have a lot of awesome pirate costumes and at the finish-line if you set a personal best (which many do on our great scenic routes) you ring the pirate’s bell. Pirates hand out the medals at the finish. Some people dress in costume, but even our race shirts and swag make you look like a pirate.
What different distances of races are there?
We are a double race weekend. Runners can run 1 day or 2. Friday night we have a Sunset 5K. It’s an amazing experience. On Saturday morning, we have the Sunrise 5K, Coastal 10K, Scenic Half-Marathon and Classic Marathon (which is a Boston qualifier). All of our routes are professional measured and the plan is for you to have Good Times in the Maritimes. This can be for fun or a fast time – hopefully both.
Why has the race become such a popular destination race?
Runners have voted us the best race in Atlantic Canada. I think it’s because we pay attention to the details. Our medals and swag have also been named best in Canada.
What makes your event such a great event for families to attend?
Friday night is typically when families run together. Children must be 6 years of age to be in the race and for safety reasons we cannot allow strollers. But we make sure everyone is included. We offer a free pirate parade on Saturday where children under 6 years old can feel part of the event. They march around with a couple hundred other children dressed as pirates. They also receive a finisher’s medal. We are currently looking into the possibility of providing childcare – we are exploring the options right now.
Of all the costumes over the years, what one stands out the most?
Every year there are great costumes. Two women each made pirate ship costumes, which looked like they were in a ship; the next year there was a treasure chest.
Finally, as I have previously lived in the area, I know there are many other great attractions and activities in the Halifax region. What attractions would you recommend as must see or do?
Runners travelling from out of province usually spend a week here. There are so many hidden treasures it’s hard to list them all but our beaches are amazing, downtown Halifax is filled with unique shops and the seafood is out of this world!
I’d like to thank Michelle for the opportunity to talk. Although I have not had the opportunity to personally experience the race yet, I do plan on making a return trip. Maybe even move back. Check out the race, pretty sure you will start making plans for this year or next. Be sure to also like the race on Facebook and Twitter.