• Sheryl S

Rubber hits road

People, we're eight weeks out from race day. Race planning for the Whole Health Mudcat Marathon Weekend is hitting a fever pitch now – it’s time to order race shirts and medals, to finalize all approvals and requests, to basically commence #FreakOut mode! So. Much. Stuff. To. Do.

We’re in the throes of making alllll kinds of decisions. Decisions on shirts and medals have to be made well before we know race numbers – that’s why there’s it's standard policy in races to have a no-refund policy on race entries. By the time you toe the starting line, all your race registration fees have been spent! We’re still a new race, so it’s a real gamble as to how many of you will show up. We don’t want anyone to leave the race without a medal, for example, but we also don’t want to be stuck with thousands of dollars in inventory, either. Help solve the problem: sign up now! And tell all your friends!

Oh, and on a related note, you can buy one of last year’s shirts at the Hauser’s Pharmacy Health and Wellness Expo for just $10! Many, many, many sizes available! (sigh... #ExcessInventory) Speaking of the race expo, we still have booths available - both regular and not-for-profit. We encourage vendors and health organizations to join us in welcoming runners to Dunnville! We’re excited to have two incredible speakers at 4 pm, and we’re working on more. Runners should plan to pick up your race kit and linger for a bit!

Race shirts this year are cool - we love them. We love the new design – our new tagline, our new shirt sponsor, Peter Dieleman and Associates. We’re going with a deep burgundy colour this year, with the same faded fish design that impressed you all so much last year. We have a new tagline: "First class races, small town love" – which reflects all that we’re about: community-building. It’s building up our local geographic community and volunteers as much as the running community. We feel strongly that this race should highlight all the wonderful things about Dunnville and area, and to support each runner (and walker!) as they take their own athletic journey, as well as support local community initiatives through charitable donations.

Medals – we are excited about the sketches and hopeful that we’ll be as blown away by the real thing as we were last year. The actual medals were amazing – but the preliminary drawings left me worried. Here is a reminder of how our sketches looked last year (we had our reservations that they’d turn out nice…) –

and here’s a photo of the medals themselves. They were mind-blowing. I should have trusted that our medal supplier, Ashworth Awards, would live up to its reputation as a world-class medal supplier - they certainly came through for us last year!

So here are this year’s sketches – we’re waiting with bated breath to see how the medals will look.

The inspirations for these medals all have to do with love, fish, and community.

The Friday night #Fishy5k race (presented by Rosa Flora Limited) medal is reminiscent of stained glass work – partly because we’re thrilled that one of Dunnville’s daughters, fused glass artist Laurie Spieker, is creating custom pieces to reward overall and masters’ winners in the marathon. Our Friday night 1k race, (presented by will receive the same medallion as last year, but with an updated ribbon.

The Saturday heart medal (all Saturday races get the same medal, with differing ribbons identifying your race distance) is driven by our ‘small town love’ part of the tagline. We were initially hoping for a more domed heart – transparent red with our logo underneath – to remind people of those adorable antique paperweights that used to have flower sprigs trapped within resin. We learned, however, that structurally we couldn’t do that – we were told that the hearts had to be flat. We still love the embedded logo, though. Presenting sponsors for Saturday races include: Hauser's Pharmacy, Grand Erie Home Hardware, Haldimand Motors,

And our Mighty Mudcat Challenge medal was inspired by a tackle box. If you look closely at the sketch, you'll see that it's a two-piece medal - the tackle box lid is attached with a hinge so that the lid swings open to reveal our logo! We think it's pretty cute - and we're hopeful that the actual medal is as cute...

There are still millions of administrative details to work out: permits, etc. You can imagine the paperwork involved in planning an event of this magnitude. County permits, police, insurance, AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) to pave the way for our exciting new feature – craft beer at the finish line! There will also be artisanal hard cider and fancy lemonade (for those who might not wish an alcoholic beverage)! I’m very excited about this new development – I love that we’re supporting local crafters while refreshing runners! Confirmed participating crafters so far include Concession Road Brewing Company, Bains Road Cider, 6 Roses Lemonade and Hometown Brew! Come thirsty! Runners will be entitled to one free drink with their race bibs. They (or their thirsty companions) will also have the opportunity to buy some. As last year, athlete food at the finish line will be provided by Sobeys Dunnville.

We’re also in talks with area restaurants who may wish to participate in this year’s Community Pasta Dinner, presented by The Haldimand Press, and held on Friday night, May 11, 2018 between 5 pm and 9 pm. Diners can buy pasta dinner tickets in advance on the race website, or at the door at participating restaurants. You’ll be helping local businesses and supporting the race, too. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for kids 3-12. You’ll get pasta with a gluten-free option available, a choice of two sauces (at least one of which will be vegetarian), a green salad and a dessert. Perfect for carbo-loading the day before the big races on Saturday! (Yes, yes, I’m fully aware that ‘carbo-loading’ as a performance strategy has been debunked, but it’s still a fun tradition!)

And, we’re fully in recruitment mode for volunteers. It really does take a village to put on this kind of an event – and we have an incredible village of volunteers. We just have to recruit ‘em and organize their labours!

Even with Freak Out Mode upon me, I’m excited about this year’s event – I’m confident it’ll be better than ever – let’s just hope the weather holds…!

Sign up link:

Volunteer sign up link:

Contact us for any other reason:

First class races, small town love!

Race weekend to benefit Dunnville Youth Impact
Centre and Cayuga Food bank.
a race the grand series. 
Check out our race JUST UP the river: Grand Caledonia half & 5k