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Rising to the VP Challenge

Annual Truro event draws more than 100 for 10K/5K

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
July 18, 2017

TRURO, N.S. – Mary MacLean showed up at the VP Challenge on Saturday expecting to volunteer as a course official. Then she ran into Farida Gabbani.
A native of Valley, MacLean has been training and competing with the cross-country team at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., and enjoyed taking part in last year’s challenge at Victoria Park. But a nagging quad injury looked like it would keep her out of this year’s competition, until she talked to Gabbani, who was disappointed to hear she wasn’t racing.
“Farida has had her hand in nearly every race I’ve competed in since I was a kid, as a volunteer or a runner,” said MacLean. “However, recently she’s not been able to race because of ongoing hip problems that she is awaiting surgery for. She has done so much for the running community in Nova Scotia so today’s race motto was ‘Do it for Farida!’”

Erik Muckle of Truro Nissan, representing the Truro Nissan VP Challenge, congratulated Mary MacLean, top female finisher in the 10K race on Saturday, July 15.

Photo courtesy of Steve Currie

On minimal sleep and without a warm-up, MacLean pulled herself up and down hills and stairs, through the mud and across the finish line as the top female finisher in the 10K race with a time of 1:06:30.
It was definitely challenging, but worthwhile in more ways than one, she said.
“I’ve seen the VP Challenge grow over the last two years into an event that the whole community can be involved in,” said MacLean. “There’s even a children’s race. The sponsors are so enthusiastic, and they do a great job of recruiting new and returning runners to be a part of the event.
“I will definitely be back for next year, but in the meantime I’ll be running for Farida,” she added.
Finishing first overall in the 10K was Cordell Shearer-Legge of Debert, with a time of 44:03, followed by Joel Taylor at 44:35.
It was Taylor’s eighth straight year taking part in the challenge, and he said it was another great experience.
“The VP is like doing a lot further than the measured distance because of the steep hills and long stairs like ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’” he explained. “I certainly felt my lungs as I attempted to keep up with Cordell.”
A Truro native, Taylor grew up training in Victoria Park for high school cross-country running, and welcomed the opportunity to race in such a beautiful, challenging and familiar trail system.
“The VP Challenge is a true trail runner’s challenge, but also a great adventure for first-timers looking to step out of their comfort zone,” he said.
Finishing in third place was Jeffrey Sims at 49:09. Second female was Kim Babineau at 1:15:49, followed by Jody Arenburg at 1:20:31
For complete, official results by Atlantic Chip, visit here .
In the 5K event, it was Leif Power of Truro finishing first with a time of 27:40.
“I think the course was pretty difficult, especially the hills and Jacob’s Ladder coming at the end of the course,” said Power, who thanked all the volunteers/workers involved with the event. “It was hard to even keep running in some spots. I think I did all right though, for my own expectations.”
Finishing second was Tom Shreve at 28:34, followed by Chuck Roberts at 28:37.
Top female finisher in the 5K was December Sampson of Maitland, with a time of 31:50.
The atmosphere was amazing and the people were even better, according to Sampson, who was participating for her first time.
“I’m so happy that I participated this year because of how the race went, but also because of how fun it was and the exhilaration of going through the obstacles,” she said. “It was something completely different that I have never done before and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to participate. I want to give a shout-out to all the organizers… you guys rock!”
Second female was Danielle Lauther at 33:39, followed by Heather Lauther at 34:04.
More than 150 youngsters also participated in the children’s race.