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Valley Harvest Marathon to mark 25th year

Valley Harvest Marathon race director Susan Carbyn says things are shaping up well for the 25th anniversary of the fall running event next month in Wolfville. (IAN FAIRCLOUGH)
Valley Harvest Marathon race director Susan Carbyn says things are shaping up well for the 25th anniversary of the fall running event next month in Wolfville. (IAN FAIRCLOUGH)

WOLFVILLE, NS - The Valley Harvest Marathon marks a quarter-century this year, and race director Susan Carbyn is hoping for another solid turnout at the Thanksgiving weekend event centred at Acadia University in Wolfville.

The overall number for the competitive races and the kids’ fun run are about where they were at this point last year, Carbyn said.

“Because we don’t have a cut-off (date), people can register right up to race day,” she said. “We get a lot of people who are a bit fair-weather, who are going to check the forecast and see what the weather is like.”

Some years have seen as many as 500 people register on race weekend, she said.

Last year, the threat of hurricane Matthew kept some people away, and construction on Highway 101, combined with events at Acadia and harvest time in the Valley, meant backed up traffic and long delays for people trying to get into Wolfville to register or bring children for the kids’ run.

With no construction this year, Carbyn is hoping for easier travels for people attending, but suggests participants still leave themselves lots of time.

About 2,500 people usually register for the Sunday events, which include 5K and 10K runs along with half, full, and ultra-marathons. More than 1,000 children now take part in the kids’ runs Saturday, which are broken down by age categories.

The numbers for the Sunday runs have grown from 790 entries just eight years ago. While Carbyn says the event could probably handle up to 10,000 runners, it is limited by parking in the town and available accommodations for out-of-town runners to stay the night before.

She said the race’s popularity is probably in part because it is a destination event at harvest time.

“You can go to the wineries, you can go apple picking, go get a pumpkin, see the fall colours and do anything associated with the harvest,” she said.

Close to 300 people volunteer to help on race day with such things as water stations. Many are parts of service clubs or youth sports groups that receive a donation from the race.

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