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MEC to launch 2017 series at Point Pleasant Park

First of five races to be held Jan. 8

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Jan. 3, 2017

HALIFAX – Five sites, four seasons, and hundreds of happy runners.
That’s one way to describe the annual MEC (Mountain Equipment Cooperative) Halifax Race Series, and it all get’s started on Sunday, Jan. 8 with Race One at Point Pleasant Park.
While each of the races has its own unique attributes, the biggest challenge with the Point Pleasant race is usually one for the organizers, not the runners, according to MEC Halifax outreach and learning coordinator Christine Krochak.

Runners winding through Point Pleasant Park during last year's run.

Photo courtesy of MEC Halifax

“Point Pleasant Park is challenging from a race director’s perspective because of weather challenges,” she said. “One year it was cancelled due to unsafe trail conditions and twice we have had all our markings disappear due to heavy rain or snow. We are usually out in the early hours remarking and inspecting conditions.”
Runners will have the choice of a 5K or 10K option on race day, both offered at the wallet-friendly rate of $15, $5 of which will be donated to the Ecology Action Centre for its Greenbelt initiative, an effort to protect local nature and water from development.
The MEC Halifax series was born in 2011 with the first race held at Shubie Park.
“MEC made the move years ago to be more proactive in helping people get outdoors and active,” she said. “We sold the gear, but did not facilitate the experience.”
The races were offered along with learn to run programs, bike maintenance clinics, meet-ups and more. Runners don’t get fancy swag at an MEC event, but they get a well-organized and professional races, all of which are chip-timed and measured with a Jones counter. Those who sign up for the package end up paying the almost unheard of sum of $12 per event.
Participants do not have to be MEC members to participate in any of the events. Other races in the series are MEC 2 at the Citadel on April 30, MEC 3 at the Salt Marsh Trail on June 25, MEC 4 Musquodoboit on Sept. 24, and MEC 5 in Shubie Park on Oct. 29. A nighttime fun run will also be held in Waverley on Sept. 9.
There will be no big changes to the series this year, according to Krochak, although she said they considered dropping the Musquodoboit race due to low numbers.
“We asked members for other location ideas and the only feedback we had was that those who love it, love it a lot,” she said. “It really is a great course, great community and gorgeous trail.”
She credited the success of the series to competent staff, dedicated volunteers, the guidance and support from Run Nova Scotia, and to an amazing group of participants, many of whom have been there from the beginning. Some started with the MEC Learn to Run 5K program, and are now running the half marathon distances.
Krochak loves the social aspect of the races and seeing people cheer each other on. After the last race, her 12-year-old daughter asked her if she ever grows tired of all the talking and the hugging.
 “After a short pause, I realized that that is what gets me through and looking forward to the next,” she added. “Never too many hugs, even the sweaty ones after!”
MEC Halifax Race One gets underway at Point Pleasant Park at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. Visit here for more information and to register.