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  • Sheryl S


So. It's over. The #Fishy5k has been run and, while there's still a boatload of work to do with respect to tallying totals, etc, the actual event part has been completed.

And I still have hair. Maybe a few more of them are grey, but I haven't yanked them out of my scalp - this is a victory!

The race is over.

The physical part involving lots of runners and walkers is, anyway. The race continues while financials are tallied, thank yous are written and delivered and the general temperature of the event is taken.

All told, it went pretty well. There were a few hitches that hopefully weren't too obvious to the participants. Like me flying through the crowd, sore foot be damned, to request the attending officer to radio a squad car to attend to a belligerent motorist who felt it was his right to plow through the barricades and into a street full of runners. Or the sinking realization that I had forgotten to collect the bib strips for door prizes – only to realize that the timing chip company could pop out a randomized list for us to call out.

All in all – those little things didn't show but to a very small minority. Runners were happy, the music was rockin', the food smelled amazing! The little kids were so freakin' adorable as they rushed out to high-five Muddy the Mudcat and then scampered back for their little medal on a bright purple ribbon. Clutching their chocolate milk, they happily told their families all about their run, with bright pink cheeks and shining eyes. Like I said: so freakin' adorable!

Runners and walkers alike slogged through the heat – and oh, was it hot. I don't know what the official Humidex reading was, but it sure felt like mid-30s Celsius. This was the first heat wave of the summer – and we chose to organize a 5k race to coincide with it.

I'm so grateful to so many people/groups/organizations that I'm reluctant to start. If I start truly thanking everyone who needs to be thanked, I won't sleep tonight. That said, I'll give it a whirl… So, in no particular order, here's who I'm grateful for:

Race Committee:

A race doesn't plan itself. And, a race committee of one will undoubtedly fail. This race director is very blessed to have a number of amazing women who 'have my back'. They've worked tirelessly to make sure this race went off without a hitch. Their ideas, their enthusiasm, their sober second thought – all of it was invaluable, to say nothing of the myriad of skills they brought to the table. Administrative expertise, photography and graphic art skills, persuasive fundraising and so much more were at my disposal! I cannot thank these ladies enough: Bonnie Laman, Mary Jo Lyell, Marjorie Hoekstra, Christina Aantjes, Eve Roorda, Erin Clark and of course, our summer student Rachelle Laman. A huge round of applause from me to you.


Okay, so without volunteers there would be NO race. From the course marshals who took some rather nasty abusive language from grumpy motorists, to the frantic pace of the registration table, to the water station volunteers and the finish line crew who placed medals on necks and handed out the ubiquitous free bananas – all were spectacular! Each was perfect in his/her place – thanks to the hard work of the volunteer coordinator who reviewed all the assignments about a zillion times. We had EXACTLY the right people in EXACTLY the right places – and I am personally so very appreciative of that!


Thanks to our sponsors who believed in us; who believed that this event could draw people together, both from within and without Dunnville. Our title sponsor, in particular, was amazing. It was a real joy to partner with Hauser's Pharmacy. Under Phil Hauser's leadership, his vision of a healthier Dunnville came a little closer. And his marketing genius, Kaitlin Johnson, made my life so much better. She saved my bacon on more than one occasion by fixing something I was attempting to do with my less-than-steller graphic arts skills. She was an absolute gem to work with.

Our media sponsor, The Haldimand Press, was kind enough to advertise our event repeatedly – and to mention it on-air during the Community Coffee Break on Haldimand's Best Country 92.9. As a result, I was invited to speak on-air a couple of times to further promote the race.

The rest of our sponsors gave generously to ensure this event was a big success: Twenty View Farms, Grand Erie Home Hardware, Minor Brothers, Anthony's Excavating, Express Bedding, Erin Clark Photography, Rosa Flora, Bethlehem Farms, Armstrong Milling, Deancor, Dwight TeBrake Chartered Accountant, Peter Dieleman Co-operators, Running Room, George Barnes & Sons, Ballard-Minor Funeral Home, George Lunshof Equipment,, Premier Martial Arts/Grand River Crossfit, Aiken's Mini Storage.

Age group awards were catfish lures, courtesy of Fishmasters Ultimate Charters. They were packaged with a note that said “You nabbed top spot, now go nab that big catch” - which made more than a few people laugh! Mission accomplished.

And a huge thank you to Laurie Spieker of Grand River Glassworks, whose donations of handmade glass serving dishes to the first-place male/female and masters (over 40) male/female winners was nothing short of SPECTACULAR.

The community was very generous with respect to door prizes, too. Many runners went away happy with their prizes!

Now on to the cleanup of the race: tabulating results, taking in all the compliments and yes, complaints, that we received. Deciding what went well and what didn't – making changes for next year.

The race is on the move, too. In 2017, the #Fishy5k will be held a few weeks earlier: May 12. A course change is planned, too, both to ameliorate the traffic flow problem and to showcase a prettier part of Dunnville. The race will start and finish at the new Farmer's Market site. It will be under construction for the first year, so tents will have to be erected to provide appropriate shelter. We're also planning a pasta party on Friday night, so racers who will be taking to the streets on Saturday morning can 'carbo-load'. Even though the concept behind carbo-loading has been debunked, it's still nice to have comfort food on the night before a big race.

And that's the biggest news: not only will we move the Friday night 5k to a different location, we are ADDING a full race weekend. A sunrise 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon are planned for Saturday, May 13, 2017.

This plan is still up for municipal approvals – so it's not set in stone yet, but it's getting there. We should know one way or another in a week or so whether this plan stands up to the police, roads, EMS and legal departments. Either way, though, the #Fishy5k is moving to the waterfront and to an earlier date.

This is going to be an exciting year to be in Dunnville!

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