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Grande-Digue, home of the 15K

Annual race scheduled for April 29

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
April 17, 2017

GRANDE-DIGUE, N.B. – In 2006, Sylvio Bourque and Paul-Pierre Bourgeois decided to start a running event in this southeastern New Brunswick community. Barely a decade later, it is the go-to 15K race for the region.
This year’s 15km de Grande-Digue is set for Saturday, April 29, and race director Kris Dupuis is expecting upwards of 300 participants.
“We were definitely one of the first, if not the first, 15K races in the area,” said Dupuis. “The course is a very good test of fitness and mental toughness.”

(From left) Maurice Vienneau, Mitch Stewart and Scott Gallant in last year’s 15km de Grande-Digue.

Photo by Serge Babineau Photography

The event has also given some great cash prizes to its top finishers, adding to its appeal. This year, top male and female finishers will receive $500, while Running Room gift cards will be awarded for second and third place.
“Also making the event unique is the fact we have a community post-race meal with the award ceremony,” said Dupuis. “For the cost of the event, you receive very good value, in our estimation.”
The course begins at the Eglise de Grande-Digue and is generally flat or slightly downhill for the first half, following along the coast. The second half is more challenging, with some rolling hills, often accompanied by a headwind.
Course records for both men and women were set last year, with Matt McNeil tearing through the course at 46:55, and Colleen Wilson following with a 56:24.
The event usually attracts 250-300 runners per year, and last year gave back $3,000 to the Grande-Digue school to help fund a healthy meal and snack program.
For more information on the 15km de Grande-Digue, visit here .
Created with the intention of being different, the event included not only the uncommon distances of 15K and initially a 3K, it also included a high school challenge and kids’ race on Sunday, with the main race on the last Saturday of April.
The 3K has since been replaced by a 5K, with both distances offering a run or walk option.
Each year, it draws some of the fastest runners in the Maritimes, which Dupuis attributes to a couple different reasons.
“We are usually the first or second Super Series race in New Brunswick, where runners can accumulate points,” he said. “Additionally, having a local Olympian runner (Joel Bourgeois) run the event sure helps draw the best runners who want to see how they measure.”
Bourgeois, who represented Canada at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics, still runs fast, clocking in a 53-minute 15K last year while pushing a stroller.