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New course records at Freeze Your Gizzard

McCarron, Poirier take first in the half marathon

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Feb. 26, 2017

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. – A road trip for several members of the Halifax Road Hammers proved to be a successful one as both Lee McCarron and Erin Poirier set new course records for the Freeze Your Gizzard run.
It was a nice homecoming of sorts for Poirier, a Charlottetown native, whose time of 1:28:00 broke the course record she set last year by 15 seconds. She was followed by Charlotte Gardiner at 1:32:40 and Grace Dawson at 1:40:22.
The Halifax Road Hammers were well represented at the Freeze Your Gizzard run. (From left) Damian McCarville, Michael Bergeron, Jennie Orr, Charlotte Gardiner, Erin Poirier, Kristen Callaghan and Lee McCarron.
“Despite the hilly course, this is one of my favourites,” said Poirier. “I love the chance to get that check-in on your fitness mid-winter and I love the trip home.”
With a temperature of about nine degrees above zero, there were no gizzards frozen today, and Poirier was thrilled to run with her teammates in singlets on a spring-like February morning.
Despite the impressive result, she was not patting herself on the back, but said it was a tune-up race for her spring goal half marathon in Montreal, Que. in April.
“I didn’t have the best day because I struggle racing solo and, with the small field, I found myself solo for more than half of the race: no one in sight,” said Poirier. “I was glad to get in under my course record from last year; that was my win for today.”
Finishing first overall was her Road Hammers coach, McCarron, who also set a course record with his 1:14:47 time. He was followed by Stan Chiasson at 1:18:34 and Steve Reeves at 1:22:22.
McCarron ran with Chiasson for the first nine kilometres, and then started to pick up his pace and try to focus on having a negative split.
“The course is challenging, with lots of hills, which require a lot of strength,” he said. “It rolls for almost the entire loop, so it’s hard to find a perfect rhythm, but all in all it was a good run.”
In the 10K event, Charley Johnston finished in first place with a 46:57 time, while Alanna VanWeichen was the second female at 50:36, and Emma Gillis third at 51:20. Chris Butler topped the males at 48:11, followed by Eddie Bacon at 48:48 and Sean Myers at 49:22.
Despite being from the area, it was Johnston’s first time competing in the Freeze Your Gizzard run. Although she had expected the race to be warm, she said she still wore too much clothing and had to shed some layers within the first couple kilometres.
“I actually wasn’t too sure how the race was going to go because I haven’t run a lot outside lately, or in general, for that matter, and 10K is tough,” she said. “However, my competitive side kicked into high gear.”
A strong hill runner, Johnston started to widen her lead after the first climbs started at around the 5K mark. Her familiarity with parts of the course may have been to her advantage, she said.
“It was a great feeling to cross the finish line, especially when the last kilometer was all uphill,” said Johnston. “It was a great race and it was one of those days that everything felt easy, and it was pretty great finishing first overall as a female. This doesn’t happen too often.”
Placing first in the 5K was Paul Thibodeau at 22:36, followed by Ashley Lainey at 23:07, and Andrew VanWeichen at 24:05. Top females were Susan Shive at 25:48, Desiree Beaulieu at 25:50 and Serena Steele at 26:43.
Thibodeau said he managed to finish strong even though he overshot the turnaround point by about 500 metres.
"This year's race was well organized and overall satisfaction was high," he said. "Special thank you to all the great volunteers, and for the awesome food."
Complete results will be posted to the PEI Road Runners website here .