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Road racing and
pumpkin smashing

Wally Rodd event returns to Charlottetown Nov. 4

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Oct. 30, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN – As far as fun post-run activities go, the Wally Rodd Road Race just might take top prize.
Following the 10K and 5K race in Charlottetown, which will take place this year on Saturday, Nov. 4, participants gather around as pumpkins leftover from Halloween are dropped from the roof of the Rodd Charlottetown hotel.
“We had a group at the hotel once, a bunch of people from off-island and I was touring them around the hotel,” said Gary Craswell, who retired a year ago after 23 years as manager of the hotel. “I said, ‘Let’s take a pumpkin up and throw it off the roof!’ They thought it was a great idea.”

The Wally Rodd Road Race will take place in Charlottetown on Saturday, Nov. 4, once again offering 10K and 5K distances, followed by a pumpkin drop from the roof of the Rodd Charlottetown hotel. Shown here are participants during last year’s event.

j. norman-bain photo

Ever since, the pumpkin drop has become a post-run tradition at the Wally Rodd race. Those wishing to take part pay $1 for the privilege, and have their name entered into a prize draw. The dollar goes to the ALS society.
Featuring 10K and 5K races, the Wally Rodd event is second only to the Prince Edward Island Marathon in size, among island running events. Last year’s drew more than 280 participants.
It all started as a way to honour Wally Rodd, who was a well-known runner himself, long before he started the chain of hotels and resorts now found around the Maritimes. A picture of Rodd from a 1931 run can be found on the front of the race shirt each year.
“In those days, running was a big sport to watch,” said Craswell. “He was a pretty renowned runner, and was still alive when I was working at the Rodd. I saw his trophies, and when he was still alive I started the Wally Rodd run.”
Around 80 then, Rodd would be present at those early runs, serving as the official starter.
When he passed away about a decade ago, the run continued, and has every year since except for 2006, when Wally’s son David passed away from ALS. Funds raised from the event now go to the ALS Society.
The run has become a fall tradition for many, and not just Islanders. A faithful group from Moncton, N.B. has been coming for many years, while others come from Halifax and other areas, taking advantage of a special room rate offered the for the occasion and often staying for the whole weekend.
The course is an out-and-back route, changed after a couple runners got lost on the previous course and Craswell “got called everything but a nice guy.”
“Runners are really stupid and get lost as they’re going around the streets,” joked Craswell, a runner himself. “So I made it an out-and-back. I figured, if they make it to the turnaround point, they should be able to find their way back.”
For more on the Wally Rodd Road Race, visit here .