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From the Salt Marsh Trail to Babaco

Annual Hillside 2 Haiti 5K set for Saturday

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 8, 2017

COLE HARBOUR, N.S. – It’s such a perfect spot for a run, Paula-Lynn Duke can’t believe more people don’t make use of the Salt Marsh Trail.
The trail’s status as a hidden gem is the main reason why Duke selected it as the site of the annual Hillside 2 Haiti 5K, set to go this year on Saturday, June 10.
With rolling hills throughout the path, she described the course as challenging, but doable.
“Honestly, this course is perfect for anyone and everyone,” she said. “If you are a seasoned marathoner just getting a pace run, this is for you… if you want to do hill training, this is for you… if this is your first 5K, this is for you…”

NHL veteran Joe DiPenta was among those on hand for last year’s Hillside 2 Haiti 5K. This year’s event will take place on Cole Harbour’s Salt Marsh Trail on Saturday, June 10.

Photo courtesy of Paula-Lynn Duke

Run it, walk it, bring your baby strollers and even your dogs to the event, which Duke said is made to fit everyone, even those who are stuck in a running rut, or those running their first race and want to calm their nerves with beautiful scenery.
The idea for the event developed in 2013 when Duke began attending Hillside Wesleyan Church in Cole Harbour. She soon became interested in the work the church was doing in the city of Babaco, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and she wanted to be involved in some way. She felt God leading her towards it.
“I knew that being part of the missions team was not really where I wanted to go, but I had to do something,” she said. “I was an avid runner and had participated in numerous races throughout HRM and, it just hit me, why not organize a race to not only introduce the community to all the great things Hillside does, and to Hillside itself, but also to raise money so that this awesome work can continue?”
She chose her favourite running location as the spot for the event, and Hillside 2 Haiti was born.
The annual event is put on by the church to introduce the community to the church and the Salt Marsh Trail, and to raise funds so that its missionary work can continue in Haiti. A team of people from the church travel to Haiti, using funds raised from the run to buy supplies in the towns they visit, and teaching the men and women skills to empower them physically and mentally.
The purpose of Hillside 2 Haiti is also to help get people interested in running, she said.
“When you get hit by the race bug, it’s hard to let it go,” said Duke. “Everyone needs to experience what being part of a racing event is like. It’s amazing!”
Numbers have been declining for the run, however, having yet to surpass its initial year’s total of 250.
For more on the Hillside 2 Haiti 5K, visit here .