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Frostbite 5-Miler a fun frigid tradition in Lower Sackville

Proceeds from event go to Beacon House

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Feb. 3, 2017

LOWER SACKVILLE, N.S. – It was a little more than two years ago that Perry Abriel knocked on Tim Duguay’s door.
Abriel had been the organizer of the Frostbite 5-Miler, a popular running event the Sackville Winter Carnival during the 1990s. The event, also known as the Bean Run because of the baked beans offered at the finish, had gone by the wayside more than a decade ago. Abriel thought Duguay, a new resident to the area, was the one to bring it back.
“He said you need to put this event on, and I wasn’t going to argue with him,” recalled Duguay. “The rest is history.”

Participants gather for last year's Frostbite 5-Miler in Lower Sackville, N.S.

Photo courtesy of Tim Duguay

Working with three of the guys who built the event, he got started, with help from the local Lakeshore Runners running club, and the Frostbite 5-Miler was resurrected.
One of the first things they did was choose a local charity to support with the event, and settled on Beacon House, which raises money for food and clothing for those in need.
Response from runners was tremendous.
“We did a complete refresh,” said Duguay. “It kind of brought excitement back to it.”
That first year, 2015, was a sellout.
Mother Nature was less than cooperative, however. Four days before the event, an “epic” snowstorm hit, dropping four feet of snow on the route, and the event was postponed to March as a result. Then, four days before that date, another storm saw 3.5 feet of snow arrive causing a second postponement, this time to April.
“I think a lot of people like it because they know we just won’t let people go,” said Duguay. “For example, if it’s dangerous, we’re not going to let the race go. We’re going to postpone it.”
The event was a hit, mixing some new in with the old. Course records were brought back from the event’s previous incarnation, giving runners like Luke MacDonald, Malcolm Pain and Steve Morley a chance to recall some of their finishes.
The event will be back for its third year on Sunday, Feb. 19, and Duguay is expecting registration of about 175-200, and great weather.
“It’s a fun, simple event in Sackville in winter,” he said. “Winter events are so difficult because of the safety.”
The route begins near Sackville High School on Kingfisher Way, and proceeds up a hill, which serves a helpful purpose in terms of safety by spreading out the runners early. They continue to spread out along Glendale Drive and through a residential area, where homeowners leave bags of food on their driveways to be collected by the volunteers for Beacon House. A left turn on Cobequid Road takes runners through a wooded area, eventually looping back to the start.
“It’s a course I’ve ran so many times, and I’ve always enjoyed it,” said Duguay. “It gives you a little difference from the first hill, the next scene you see is First Lake, then you’re in a residential area so a lot of people are looking at you, then you go through a wooded area where it’s kind of calming, and then the finish line, and there’s always some excitement there.”
The unique distance, which harkens back to the old days, also gives many runners a chance to record a PB in the five-mile.
The event continues to be put on 100 per cent by volunteers with the Lakeshore Running Club.
Race time is noon on Sunday, Feb. 19. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page here .