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Cabot Trail reflections

Top mixed, women’s teams look back at their weekend

Andrew Wagstaff photos
Shauna Wilcox of the Halifax Road Hammers women's team chases Nat Slomka of the Parkdale Rod Runners up Cape Smokey during Leg 4 of the Cabot Trail Relay Race on Saturday, May 26.
By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
May 30, 2018

BADDECK, N.S. – While the toppling of The Maine-iacs for first place in the 2018 Cabot Trail Relay Race may have been the top story of the event, it was not the only one.
   Several teams put in gritty performances, and got impressive results in return, including the top all-female team – the Halifax Road Hammers women, and the top mixed team – the Raging Bulls from Moncton, N.B.
   “I am extremely proud of the true team effort that we put forward in the race,” said Road Hammers team captain Britney Benoit. “As I think is always the case in the relay, we had some last-minute scrambling to fill legs and get everyone to the start line – and everyone on our team stepped up to make sure the weekend was a success.”
   Just like he did with the winning men’s team, Road Hammers coach Lee McCarron worked very closely with the team captain to make sure they optimized each runner’s strengths by putting them on legs where they had the best opportunity to perform.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Gerald Gallant of the Raging Bulls finished ninth in Leg 3.
   “I think the women’s performance is impressive,” he said. “It’s extremely rewarding as a coach to see all of your athletes come together as a team and work hard on each leg and give it everything they have to ensure they’re contributing to the success of their team.”
   They did not have it easy. They had intense competition from other female teams, particularly the aXe Women United, a team made up of alumni from Acadia and St. F.X. universities.
   When the dust cleared, the Road Hammers won the 17-leg race over the aXe Women by 12 minutes.
   Key performances came from the likes of Shauna Wilcox, who stepped in late and placed as the third female on Leg 4, despite having been sidelined by an injury for several weeks prior; Sheila Grover, who ran Leg 1 after running the Sugarloaf Marathon only six days before; Whitney Canning, who ran Leg 14 in the middle of a busy work schedule; and Morgan Hawkes, who ran two legs, placing second female in Leg 3 and third in Leg 17.
   Training together as a team helped the Road Hammers, according to Benoit.
“I think that our ability to push ourselves and our fitness can be attributed in large part to working together, both in training and throughout the relay,” she said. “The aXe Women were a strong team and definitely made us work for the win – but having great team spirit and support throughout every leg made all the difference.”
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Halifax Road Hammers women: (Front, from left) Britney Benoit, Heather Lee-Callaghan, Charlotte Gardiner, Courtney Barbour, Lindsay Ozon, (back) Morgan Hawkes, Erin Carmody, Shannon Masson, Annie Li, Kali Caulier, Hilary Rawding, Sarah Masson. Missing are Shauna Wilcox, Sheila Grover, Jenna MacDonald, Whitney Canning.
   The Raging Bulls had set a goal to continue improving in the overall team rankings, and have done so every year since placing 18th in 2013. This year they finished fourth overall, and tops among mixed teams. For the relay, a team must have a minimum of seven runners from each gender, in order to be considered mixed. The Moncton team had eight females and nine males.
   “We have an unbelievable group of runners,” said team captain Nick Foster. “We had three of our female runners place first among females in their leg, we had strong mountain leg performances, and everyone ran impressively at all hours, whether it was at three in the afternoon or three in the morning.”
One of those three women was Rochelle Johnston, who was the top female finisher on Leg 17, sealing the deal for her team.
   “It was pretty exciting, gathering at the finish line with the team, all glancing at our watches with anticipation because we knew there was a certain time needed in order for us to capture the top mixed team title,” said Foster. “It was an awesome feeling seeing Rochelle race down the final leg, knowing we had captured our goal.”
   For complete team results, visit Atlantic Chip here .
Photo courtesy of Meghan Slattery
Raging Bulls: (front, fromleft) Rochelle Johnston, Glenn Myers, Gerald Gallant, (middle) Annie Pellerin, Lindsay Laltoo, Martine Cadieux, Maddy Crowell, Lise Ouellette Cormier, Heidi McLellan, Suzanne Myers, (back) Jeff Mahoney, Aaron Sellers, Adam Burke, Mitch Stewart, Marc Cormier, Nick Foster (team captain).