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Slush run a Cape Breton tradition for almost 30 years

Annual Louisbourg event scheduled for Saturday, March 4

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Feb. 10, 2017

LOUISBOURG, N.S. – For 28 years, runners have been converging on this historic Cape Breton community for the annual Louisbourg Slush Run. If it’s not course and the scenery that brings them back year after year, then it’s probably Calvin Pitcher’s post-run chili.
This year’s Slush Run will take place on Saturday, March 4, and organizers are expecting another successful event.
“We expect that about 50-60 runners and 10-20 walkers will take part in the event this year,” said Cindy Hynes, member of the Louisbourg Road Race Society, which coordinates the annual run. “Runners take part no matter what the weather (and we have seen quite a variety of temperatures over the years). They have shown such great support for this event and we are very appreciative.”

Participants line up for last year's Louisbourg Slush Run.

Photo courtesy of Louisbourg Road Race Society

The slush run is a five-mile race that starts at the George D. Lewis School, and passes by the entrance of the Fortress of Louisbourg at the halfway point. Also featured is a three-mile walk.
Originally sponsored by the Louisbourg Recreation Department and Recreation Committee, the event was started in 1989 with 18 runners taking part, and continues to grow each year, according to Hynes. It has been sponsored by the Louisbourg Road Race Society since that organization was formed in 2004. The chairman of the society is Pitcher, who was on the original organizing committee back in 1989.
There are a number of reasons why the event has lasted so long, according to Pitcher, who pointed out that there are not a lot of runs in the winter, and that five miles is a good distance for recreational runners. The $10 registration fee, which includes a hot chili luncheon and dessert along with post-run awards and prizes, is also appealing to many.
Runners also like the route, which travels along the waterside and provides a nice view of the fortress for quite a distance, according to Hynes.
“For many years it had been the first scheduled run of the winter season,” she said. “But I think that the route, combined with the social aspect, camaraderie, the luncheon and everything combined has made it such a success, not to mention the great support shown by the runners over the years.”
The course is an out and back route, entirely paved, with a water stop provided at the halfway mark. Other than a few slight inclines, it is mostly flat.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the school. The three-mile walk begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the five-mile run at 10 a.m. Visit here for more information.