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Party like an Epic Canadian

Annual Dartmouth event adds Friday night festival

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
June 26, 2017

DARTMOUTH, N.S. – Tim Chesnutt’s organizing team for the upcoming Epic Canadian event have given him a new title.
“They’re calling me Director of Mission Creep,” said Chesnutt, with a laugh.
He has earned that title because he is never satisfied with the status quo, and always wants to offer a bigger and better experience with his event, which will take place this year over three days starting on Friday, June 30.
New to the event this year will be the Friday night 6.1K run, followed by a huge party featuring live bands and fireworks, a festival he modeled after the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Florida.

Sophie Vienneau waves the flag during last year's Epic Canadian 5K race. This year's event will take place from June 30 to July 2.

Kevin Lane photo

“When you get to the southern U.S., they do something we don’t – they have a great party,” said Chesnutt. “People are going for the race, but they’re really going for the party. I always wanted to do that. Runs have had bands and runs have had socials afterwards, and that’s good, but it’s not there yet.”
Friday night at the Epic will feature the funk/soul stylings of The Mellotones, followed by a fireworks show of a scale one might expect to be put on by a city, and not a running event.  In fact, Chesnutt estimated that the Epic fireworks show will equal about half of what Halifax Regional Municipality is paying for its fireworks show the next night.
“I want to have good music, a great party, good times, Canadian flags and all that stuff,” he said. “It’s not easy, it’s Epic. I want to blow people’s minds.”
The Friday night party will be followed on Saturday, July 1 by the 10K and 5K races, along with a Canada Day family picnic, featuring music from Joe Murphy and the Water Street Blues Band, Stand Back, and The Urban Surf Kings. Sunday, July 2 will feature the quarter and half marathon races, as well as a swim, while Monday, July 3 will include triathlon events.
All races will take place around the areas of Lake Banook and Lake Micmac, with more than 2,000 runners expected to take part, while the site should attract 16-18,000 people over the weekend, if the weather cooperates.
Costs for things such as police and production make it challenging to put the event on in the middle of Dartmouth, but the location is important to Chesnutt.
“If I was smart, I’d go out to Cow Bay or Sackville and run it there where we don’t have to pay for police,” he said. “Or, if we were the size of the Blue Nose, we would have 12,000 people to pay for it. But we’re in Dartmouth and I like Dartmouth.
“How often does a local athlete get to say they’re an athlete?” he asked. “We can do that, we can put them in the centre of things, and it changes people’s perception of how they think about themselves.”
The Epic has made a difference in Dartmouth, which is why Chesnutt continues to receive encouragement from community leaders like MP Darren Fisher and city councillor Tony Mancini. The Epic kids’ program gives a sizable donation to local schools for much –needed physical education equipment, an idea from sponsor Subaru, and also contributes to charities such as the Terry Fox Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Perhaps most importantly, the event celebrates being Canadian. Kilometre markers are decorated with pictures of “Epic Canadians” voted on by the public. Last year’s top three were Justin Trudeau, Alexander Graham Bell and Jann Arden.
“We’re not American. They go around, shouting ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.’ and we say, ‘Sorry, we’re Canadian,” said Chesnutt. “Now we can trumpet and say, ‘Damn it, I’m proud to be Canadian’ when we run by these iconic Canadians.
“One year we had a nine-year-old running with his grandmother and he asked her who Romeo Dallaire was,” he continued. “What an amazing teachable moment. What does it mean to be Canadian? What does it mean to be epic?”
Those who venture into Dartmouth next weekend just might find out.
For more information on the Epic Canadian, visit here .