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Capacity crowd awaits 2017 Maritime Race Weekend

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Sept. 11, 2017

EASTERN PASSAGE, N.S. – Despite the theme that no one can miss, Maritime Race Weekend might be more like a runaway train than a pirate ship.
That’s the message from race director Michelle Kempton, days away from what has become one of the East Coast’s biggest running events.
“Being a race director is like driving a fast-moving train with a lot of moving parts,” she said. “It’s essential to be able to problem solve without stopping the forward motion; keeping calm and knowing the show must go on.”

Just a handful of the hundreds of volunteers that make Maritime Race Weekend work. This year’s event will take place in Eastern Passage and Cow Bay, N.S. on Sept. 15-16.

Photo courtesy of Maritime Race Weekend on Facebook

Perhaps her biggest task was assigning jobs to 350 volunteers, which she did with meticulous detail.
“It took about 20 hours to manually assign 350 volunteer positions and email each person individually,” said Kempton. “Could I do it quicker? Yes, but important details would get lost. For example, Mary and Mat are both running the marathon on Saturday but want to volunteer on Friday. I obviously am not going to give them a standing job. It’s the small things like that which improve the runners’ and pirate crew experience.”
When she found herself running short on a few key volunteer roles, she got on the phone and found support from her fellow race directors from the Blue Nose, Valley Harvest and Johnny Miles events. A few non-runner friends also stepped up to help out on the shifts she where she was short on help.
One unexpected problem for this year came when the fish plant, which normally supplied and ice and massive container to keep the event’s beer cold, burned down last year. The solution?
“In the morning, our pirate crew will fill my granddad’s canoe with ice and beer for the Alexander Keith’s Pirate Jamboree,” she said. “It doesn’t get any more East Coast than that.”
For more on Maritime Race Weekend, visit here .
This year’s event will take place on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 15-16, with a jam-packed schedule that will kick off with Friday night’s Sunset 5K. Saturday will see the Sunrise 5K start with the 10K, half marathon and full marathon races all at 8 a.m., and will conclude with the new 15K race on the Salt Marsh Trail at 4 p.m.
The full marathon is expected to have a particularly strong field this year, having added cash prizes as an incentive.
Saturday activities will also include a pirate jamboree and kids’ pirate parade at Fisherman’s Cove.
However, it’s the finer details that occupy much of Kempton’s time, she pointed out.
“All the swag and medals are here, the equipment is sorted, and we’ve built new signs for the routes,” she said. “All of our core team is returning, which is a huge relief because they don’t require training. Now I’m just working on the final logistics – basically printing out reports and creating binders for all the pirate crew captains.”
That task was made a bit more challenging last week with the death of her laptop, which contained all of her valuable face logistics files and passwords. Soon after that problem was fixed, she found herself dealing with such issues as hotel renovations and post office regulations, all the while keeping an eye on weather forecasts to make sure hurricane season was not about to send any surprises up the Atlantic coast.