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Fitness and fun at
Rockwood Park

River & Trail & Ales returns Saturday

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Sept. 12, 2017

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Two years ago, Boon Kek wanted to create an “un”event in Saint John, and shared his idea with Sean Creary, owner of the River & Trail Outdoor Company.
“There are many races out there that are time/results focused, and I wanted to create something a little different, where the main goal was to have fun and get a good workout in,” said Kek. “So, when I told him the idea, he was very supportive of it, and so here we are.”
The result of their collaboration was River & Trail & Ales, a fun but challenging trail run at Rockwood Park, which will take place this year on Saturday, Sept. 16. Offered are two different distances on the park’s hilly, gravely, root-laden trails – a “12-point-something K” and a “six-point-something K.”

Kevin (left) and Dianne Clarke, along with Randy Miller, were among the participants in last year’s River & Trail & Ales event at Rockwood Park in Saint John, N.B. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Cat Smith photo

Focusing on fitness and fun was the reason behind the unconventional distances, according to Kek.
“We didn’t want participants to start comparing their trail run times to their road run times,” he said. “It’s about challenging yourself and having fun.”
Kek and Creary put on the event with plenty of support from businesses such as Hammond River Brewing, Fundy Nutrition Consulting, and the Saint John Ale House, which hosts a post-run gathering.
The City of Saint John has also been very supportive with logistics in the park. A naturalist at the park helped design the course to include “a little bit of everything” over its naturally challenging terrain, ranging from super technical bits to wide gravel tracks.
All profits from the event go to the Saint John Community Food Basket, a personal goal important to Kek.
“When we first started this race, I recall reading news about folks in the city just having a hard go around,” he said. “And the people who use the food banks could be anyone. There are less fortunate in the community and I would feel guilty if we just had an event for our own personal fulfillment without giving something back.”
Kek did not put a number on his hopes for participation turnout this year, but said he hoped for growth.
“There are so many worthwhile events in the region,” he said. “It’s great for the participants to have that choice, but it does spread out participation. The first goal is always to break even and, if we are able to exceed last year’s registration, it’s a good indication that we are growing and people are liking our race.”
For more on River & Trail & Ales, visit here .