I had so much fun with #MuddyJr last weekend at the Maritime Race Weekend near Halifax, Nova Scotia! I was invited to go learn some stuff about putting on an excellent race – and #MuddyJr tagged along!
One thing I learned was why the Maritime Race Weekend is so popular – it's over the top fun! From the 'instant pirate' costume at the race kit pick up (only $10, mateys!) to the incredible and personable Mark Stein announcing the races over sea shanties, it couldn't have been more perfect. The Sunset 5k on Friday night was especially festive, as it opened the festivities and set the tone for the whole weekend. Pirates and their wenches were everywhere!
Fisherman's Cove is an adorable little shopping areas for all but one of the summer weekends. The multi-coloured huts stand on a boardwalk facing the sea. Restaurants and gift shops are capped with a gorgeous interpretive centre that illuminates the area's colourful history. A lovely beach boardwalk over a pebble beach and ancient moorings make me think that any minute, a Johnny Depp-esque pirate character will come trundling up the beach. (One could merely hope, that is!)
On Maritime Race Weekend,Fisherman's Cove ceases to be merely adorable and looks like the set of a seaside movie. The huts still bustle, but the crush of thousands of runners, mostly in costume, swarm the boardwalk. Three-cornered hats, plastic swords and fake bad teeth look like the uniform of the place.
The Sunrise Races (another 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon) make Saturday exciting and inspirational. So many people started their race with hope and ended it with a mighty push! #MuddyJr was asked to be on Cheer Squad, so he high-finned as many runners as he could. I had the opportunity to give a personal cheer to runners who looked to be struggling as they reached the finish line – I even ran a couple of them in!
Me and #MuddyJr made so many new friends! Michelle Kempton, Race Director for the Maritime Race Weekend, was warm and welcoming as she agreed to let me shadow her for the races. It might not have worked out exactly perfectly (I worry I got in Michelle's way too much…), but I am so very grateful for the opportunity.
I met some amazing volunteers, too, including some Race Directors from a couple of nearby races. I also met a really nice couple from England. On exchange from the Royal Air Force, John is stationed in Nova Scotia for a few years. His wife Louise bonded with #MuddyJr right away.
I had the opportunity to help with a variety of tasks, including building the backdrop for the Pirate's Oath! This fun tradition involves repeating an oath (with beer!), then being spritzed with sea water. There was a contest, too - the most liked photos on Facebook win a lifetime registration to the race!
#MuddyJr also met his soul-mate: Raffi, the giraffe mascot for the Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville, NS. They met at the race kit pickup, but #MuddyJr was too shy to ask for a photo with the cute giraffe. Later, we took a better shot of Raffi, but still #MuddyJr was too shy to pose.
Ric and I had some non-race fun, too - including a brewery tour and a real East Coast lobster supper!
Next year! We've already decided we're going back. Ric and I will run, as well as volunteer – and #MuddyJr will tag along in hopes of cavorting with an adorable giraffe. Maybe he'll get a selfie this time!