By Jennifer Hoegg
One runner will be marking a milestone of his own at Sunday’s 20th Valley Harvest Marathon.
Dave Nevitt, winner of the 1997 event, plans to run his 100th marathon Oct. 7.
It’s a fitting way to do it, the Dartmouth man said. “The Valley Harvest is going to be 21 years and one day since my first marathon.”
“It all goes back to 1989,” Nevitt said of his long distance running hobby. “I went out and helped at a water station at the Michelin Marathon. The following summer, I ran (the event) as part of a relay team.
“It got me thinking it would be fun to do the whole thing,” he recalled. “The following year I did and that was my first marathon.”
1991 was the last Michelin Marathon, leaving a gap in the Nova Scotia race offerings Valley Harvest eventually filled.
“I try to get down to that one every one I can,” Nevitt said of the Thanskgiving weekend race. “I ran the very first in 1993.
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“It was a really big breakthrough when I did the first one. It was only my fifth marathon overall and I improved my best time by nine minutes.
He keeps coming back. While he doesn’t always run the full 42-kilometre marathon, he has raced in 18 of the 19 previous events.
“I guess I have a lot of good memories from the Valley Harvest,” Nevitt said.
This will be his second time running the race on the Wolfville-based course. Nevitt ran it in 2008 - the first year it moved from the Kentville start.
“That’s the marathon I would like to forget,” he said. “I didn’t have a particularly good one. I cramped up. It was among one of the slowest marathons I have run.”
However, he said he prefers the new location.
”I found the valley race really improved when it moved to Wolfville,” he said. “They really amped it up. It’s as good as any marathon in Nova Scotia.”
The retiree has a few personal goals for his 100th marathon.
“I say ‘just to have fun,’ but whenever I race I tend to push my limits.
“A guy at 53 years old probably shouldn’t be winning marathons,” Nevitt added, but this year – when he ran the most marathons of his life – he has been pleased with his success. He won a race in Eastern Passage last month, finished under three hours for the first time in eight years in Fredericton and came fourth in Newfoundland last week at his 99th marathon.
Race organizers are also expecting another race to remember.
“VHM is known as the most scenic and well-run marathon in Eastern Canada and we plan to raise the bar even higher in 2012,” organizer Dwayne MacLeod said.
“This year's event is being run in honor of Steve Moores - the founder of the event and 15-year race director,” he added. “Steve is presently in a courageous battle with cancer.
Race weekend holds more than a long run. Saturday, there are kids’ runs and a pre-race pasta dinner at the Wolfville Lions’ Hall. Another new addition to the event this year is childcare provided by the Acadia SMILE program for participants who sign up for the service on the marathon’s website.
I guess I have a lot of good memories from the Valley Harvest. - Runner Dave Nevitt
Anyone interested in Sunday’s events - ultra-marathon, marathon, half-marathon, Nordic walk, 10 K and 5 K – should sign up soon. Registration will be capped at 1,800 this year for logistical reasons.
All the details…
What: Valley Harvest Marathon
When: Oct. 6 – 2 p.m. Kids’ races
Oct. 7 – 7:30 a.m. Adult races
Where: Races begin at Acadia University Athletics’ Complex, Wolfville