In this instalment of his series ON THE RUN, Vanguard reporter Eric Bourque talks with organizers of Yarmouth’s first Running Expo.
Mark Hubbard, here at Runner’s Attic in Yarmouth, says running in the local area is “booming.”
By Eric Bourque
If you’re a runner – or perhaps a prospective one – and you’re looking for something running-related, chances are you will find it later this month at the Rodd Grand Hotel, where Yarmouth’s first Running Expo will be held.
A joint initiative of the Tri-County Women’s Centre and Runner’s Attic, the event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28.
The expo will include product displays, workshops, a fashion show and more.
The idea is to celebrate and promote running and active living, say co-organizers Mark Hubbard and Michele Archibald-Hattie.
“There’s tons of runners out there and we wanted to know how to get the message out,” says Hubbard, who sees plenty of runners, of course, at Runner’s Attic.
And the message, he says, is “how much fun running is, how anybody can really do it and how individual it is. It doesn’t matter who you are. You can do it at your own pace. Running is such an individual sport … It’s not expensive. If you can get a good pair of sneakers, off you go.”
Archibald-Hattie, program coordinator with the Tri-County Women’s Centre, says the expo is the first of its kind in the Yarmouth area.
“Mark and I were talking one day about just how wonderful running is in Yarmouth and how many people are engaged in it,” she says, recalling how the idea for the expo originated.
“There’s going to be booths that promote healthy lifestyles and healthy products, things like massages … a whole variety of people and products and services that feature healthy (living) and running and cycling and that sort of thing.”
Running is more popular than ever in the Yarmouth area, judging by the number of people out on the roads and the number of local running events available to them.
Those events include the Yarmouth Marathon, which was held Aug. 25 and whose participants included Hubbard and Archibald-Hattie. (Hubbard did the full marathon this year, his debut at that distance, while Archibald-Hattie did the half.)
The Yarmouth expo is another reflection of how big the sport has grown in this area, they say.
“Absolutely,” Hubbard says. “It’s booming.”
Of course, running as a fitness activity is nothing new, but Hubbard says various things seem to have come together to help spur the sport’s recent growth. He cites, for example, the local running clubs, as well as improvements in running equipment and advances in technology, everything from better shoes to running apps.
“It’s such a science now with shoes and fitting and orthotics and that kind of stuff,” he says.
All of which has helped make running accessible to more people, he says, not just those who fit the traditional image of the long-distance runner.
It helps too, he says, that people, particularly beginners, are encouraged to incorporate walking into their workouts.
“You’re still doing the distance,” he says. “Even if you walk partway through a race, it’s not a big deal. You’re still doing point A to point B.”
Says Archibald-Hattie, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, what size you are, what gender you are, what you do for a living, you can run.”
Organizers of the Yarmouth expo wanted to offer something similar – on a smaller scale and with more of a local focus – to what is held in Halifax as part of that city’s Blue Nose Marathon.
“We thought why can’t we bring it to Yarmouth instead of us having to go there?” Hubbard says.
Aside from displays promoting various products and services, the Yarmouth event will include workshops, as well as a fashion show featuring some of the latest in running and athletic wear. It is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and go until 3 p.m. or thereabouts.
Regardless of how far or how fast they go, runners should be celebrated, says Archibald-Hattie.
“Whether you walk three kilometres or run ultra-marathons, it takes courage and perseverance and sometimes we need to be reminded about that,” she says. “That is why we are having the Running Expo.”