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A helping hand to Haiti

Numbers low but spirits high at annual 5K

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 20, 2017

COLE HARBOUR, N.S. – Success cannot always be judged by numbers.
Just ask Paula-Lynn Duke, race director of the annual Hillside 2 Haiti run in Cole Harbour, who was pleased with the June 10 event despite a smaller turnout.
“The day was another fantastic event,” said Duke. “We had wonderful sunshine to keep us energized, and it was an early start.”
The 5K run takes place each year on the Salt Marsh Trail, with proceeds going towards Hillside Wesleyan Church’s mission work in Haiti.

Members of the Lakeshore Runners taking part in the Hillside 2 Haiti 5K on June 10 included (from left) Koli Abbey, Valerie Joudrey, Virginia Joudrey, Lisa Loomer, Lisa Noble and Denise Camp Saulnier.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Joudrey

“Having these racers show up and truly enjoy the race and find that ‘high’ they are desperately seeking really made my heart explode with thankfulness and love.”
Ben Grosvenor was the first across the finish line with a time of 22:31, while top female was Samantha Mackenzie at 24:06.
Winner of the youth category was Mitchel Benjamin at 24:26, while golden masters winners were Bob Cook at 23:15 and Clare MacKenzie at 24:53. Masters winners were Shannon Monk at 25:37 and Harvey Flowers at 26:52, senior masters winners were Thane McKay at 26:03 and Virginia Joudrey at 26:13, while platinum masters winners were Norm Weins at 34:49 and Myrtle Campbell at 59:34.
Joudrey was one of several members of Sackville’s Lakeshore Runners who took part in the race.
“This is a great event,” she said. “The route is fantastic, they are beyond organized and it’s for a great cause.”
It was her second time running it, and she said she is looking forward to running it again next year.
This year’s event drew a crowd of 97, down considerably from the 250 in its 2013 debut year. While she did not have the final numbers, Duke said it might have just broke even or lost money this year. But it was definitely not a loss.
“Although the race was created to raise money for Haiti, it means much more than that,” she said. “Our missionaries who do the amazing work in Haiti have other avenues where they can raise the funds, so I’m not worried about them getting what they need. As they say, God provides.”
Another purpose of Hillside 2 Haiti was to help the community and get people interested in running, and the 2017 event was a big success in that regard. Among the participants were people who are struggling with addictions. A Duke described, they were “trading their chemical high for the racing high.”
“Not only does Hillside 2 Haiti 5K puts its focus on international efforts, but we also want to be able to focus on community needs,” she said.