DesRoches returns from serious injury to claim overall title
KENSINGTON – Calvin DesRoches of Northam made a successful return to the Harvest Festival Road Race on Saturday morning.
DesRoches, running in his first Harvest Festival race since a second-place finish to Boston native John Goodwin in the 28th annual run in 2001, won the 40th anniversary event in one hour 42 minutes 43 seconds (1:42:43).
“I’m just back at running the last year and a half,” said DesRoches following completion of the 25-kilometre “Killer Course” that starts at the old Church of Scotland in Stanchel and finishes in front of Community Gardens in Kensington. “I was laid off for 10 years with an Achilles tendon injury. . . It takes a few years to get your tempo back.”
DesRoches and Joanne Reid, who repeated as female winner with a third-place overall finish for the second year in a row, jumped out to the lead right after the start, and ran side by side most of the race.
“I did a lot of research on the data the last couple of years, and I saw she (Reid) had an extremely strong run last year, so I knew what she could run based on her run last year,” said DesRoches, 52. “I watched the run last year and saw that she didn’t falter right to the finish.
“When I saw her go out front, I said, ‘I’m going to tuck in behind her because I know she is going to go at a good pace.’
“My strategy was to follow her for a while. It doesn’t matter how much you train, until you get out and run your first couple of kilometres you never know how your body is going to react on any given race day. Pick a pace, see how your body is going to adjust and you go from there with your strategy after that.”
Edwin Gillis was second overall in 1:44:44. John Brioux (1:45:48) and Alex Bain (1:45:50) rounded out the top-five finishers. Helga Reisch was the second female runner to finish in 1:50:26, sixth overall.
DesRoches, who was also the top 50-over runner, took over the lead for good in Freetown.
“When we got to Freetown I had a little bit left and put a couple of fast kilometres in,” said DesRoches, who has ran the Harvest Festival run “probably five or six times” and last won it in 2000 in 1:34:07.
DesRoches admitted it means a lot to win the challenging Harvest Festival race.
“Other than a marathon, Kensington is the race on the Island, and probably the Maritimes, for most runners that know the course to come here,” said DesRoches. “I know it always depends on who shows up as the competition, but you really just race against yourself anyway. I enjoy running this race, and it’s fun to get a win.”
DesRoches said “all things considered” he was pleased with his performance.
“I would have liked to have beaten 1:40, but 1:42 is good,” he said.
DesRoches said a key for him was to take it easy through the early hills of the race into Kinkora.
“I’m just back at running the last year and a half. I was laid off for 10 years with an Achilles tendon injury. . . It takes a few years to get your tempo back.” Calvin DesRoches
“The first half into Kinkora, I altered my pace and I felt good enough and did a three-minute negative split from Kinkora in,” said DesRoches. “It’s always the key in this race, staying in control to Kinkora.”
Harvest Festival Road Race notebook:
The 40th anniversary run held on Saturday morning had 74 runners registered, and one did not finish.
Jeff Davison, who is originally from Kensington and now lives in Calgary, was presented with the most dedicated runner award.
Runners termed the conditions as perfect. The temperature was around 16 degrees Celsius at the start of the race, and there was a nice cool wind that prevented heat from becoming a big factor.
Three race participants – Francis Fagan, Shawn McCardle and Mike Gaudet – put in a little overtime on Saturday. The trio ran the course twice for a total of 50 kilometres. They ran from the finish line in front of Community Gardens in Kensington to the start line by the old Church of Scotland in Stanchel before the race, and then turned around and ran the race back to Kensington.