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Yarmouth’s Sheila Poole 10K to be held Saturday, July 20

An image from the Sheila Poole 10K of 2018, as some of the runners make their way along Water Street in the event’s opening moments.
An image from the Sheila Poole 10K of 2018, as some of the runners make their way along Water Street in the event’s opening moments. - Eric Bourque

With the arrival of summer, you know it’s just about time for the Sheila Poole 10K, one of southwestern Nova Scotia’s longest-running athletic events, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 20.

Among those planning to attend the race again is Nancy Holland, road race series co-ordinator with Run Nova Scotia, who also serves as MC for the Yarmouth race.

“I love coming down to Yarmouth for the Sheila Poole,” Holland said. “It’s such a great community event.”

As MC, she welcomes runners as they reach the finish line and provides race-related information to those present, including race participants and spectators.

Holland lives in Dartmouth and is part of a sizable contingent of Run Nova Scotia members who come down to help with the Yarmouth event.

She and her colleagues normally will arrive an hour prior to the race’s 9 a.m. start and set things up at the finish line near Rudder’s on Water Street. (The start line is just a bit further north, close to Frost Park.)

This is a busy time of year for the Run Nova Scotia folks, given that there’s pretty much at least one race every weekend from mid-June or so until late summer.

Holland, who took up running 25 years ago, will run most of the Run Nova Scotia series races this year, but in Yarmouth her role again will be MC, which she says looks forward to each year.

“I do enjoy calling the race when all the runners are starting to come in,” she said. “There’s a great bunch of people at the finish line feeding me names of local runners ... They’ve always got something to share with me about people coming in. And I always love seeing Ruth and Reigh Poole (the parents of the late Sheila Poole).  They help out with the awards at the end of the race. It’s really great to see them every year.”

How old is the Yarmouth race compared to other road races in the province? Holland described the Sheila Poole event as “middle-aged.”

She cited a few races that have been around longer, notably the Dartmouth Natal Day one, which dates back over a century to 1907. She mentioned as well the Nova Scotia Marathon in Barrington, which turns 49 this year, and the Berwick Gala Days 5-miler.

While this is the 35th year for Yarmouth’s annual summertime 10K, the event was known as the Human Race for the first 13 years, from its inception in 1985 until 1997.

It was renamed in memory of Sheila Poole, a Yarmouth native who died of cancer on Nov. 1, 1997, at the age of 35. Poole had run cross-country for Dalhousie University in the late 1980s. She went on to become one of Nova Scotia’s top road racers, reaching her competitive peak in the early 1990s, when her accomplishments included a couple of Human Race titles.

Holland said it was great to see the Human Race renamed and dedicated to Poole’s memory after her passing, calling it “an amazing gesture.”

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