CENTRAL BEDEQUE – Kris Taylor’s debut marked a new era in the Dunk River Road Race.
The 40-year-old Taylor was the overall winner of the 37th annual Callbeck’s Home Hardware Dunk River Road Race on Sunday morning. Taylor crossed the finish line in 41 minutes 40 seconds (41:30).
“The course was great,” said Taylor, who calls New Glasgow, P.E.I., home. “It’s nice when there was not a lot of traffic on the course, and there was only one section with a bit of traffic on it.
“It’s a beautiful day and running with friends on the old country roads, you can’t beat that.”
Allie Keedwell of Charlottetown was the top female entry, finishing 19th out of 47 runners, in 54:32.
“It was tough, hot,” said Keedwell. “It started out good, I ran with Brenda (Benson) and we race together all the time, and we set a nice good pace.”
Due to safety concerns, the popular race featured a new course this season, but maintained the 7.22-mile and 11.6 kilometre distance. The race started and finished alongside the Mount Moriah Mason Lodge at the junction of the Trans Canada Highway and Dunk River Road (Rte. 171).
Previously, the race started and finished in front of the Bedeque Area Recreation Centre.
“This way they come off the Freetown Road onto the highway running up on the left-hand side of the road,” explained race chairman Paul Wright. “They do not have to cross the busy highway at all, which is really good.”
Competitors all agreed the biggest difference in the course change was not having a downhill finish leading into the Bedeque arena.
“The course is now going in the opposite direction,” said Wright. “(Runner) Calvin DesRoches just mentioned it’s all flat or uphill on the second half, there’s no downhill.”
Race participant Gordon MacFarlane of Summerside admitted the hill at the end of the race really affected him.
“I don’t know if I could say one was tougher than the other,” said MacFarlane, who finished in 56:12. “I think I preferred the old course because we had the downhill right at the end and you could sprint to the finish, but they are both tough on a warm summer day.”
Keedwell, however, said she prefers the new course a little bit better.
“I like hills and both courses have hills,” she continued. “This one seemed to have a few more and not as many down. Funny enough I’m more comfortable climbing up than down.
“They are nice quiet roads, really safe. Traffic was never an issue. I might have like the finish better in the first one just because it was a nice downhill finish.
“Coming up that hill (towards the finish) was tough, but that’s why you race. You race to push yourself.”
Keedwell was able to maintain a steady pace, but admitted she had a tough finish.
“I definitely slowed that last mile coming up that hill, and I didn’t have anything to give at the end,” said Keedwell. “You know you raced your best when you are spent at the finish.”
Taylor and Keedwell both admitted Sunday’s warm temperatures were a factor.
“I went out a little too fast for the heat,” said Taylor. “I kind of went out with the pace I intended to run, and the heat made me pull it back a bit for the second half.”
Keedwell confirmed it was the warmest race she has ran in this year.
“I must say there was a nice breeze and not too strong of a headwind that you ever felt you were fighting it,” she said. “The breeze kept it cooler, and there were great water stations.”
CENTRAL BEDEQUE -- Results of the 37th annual Dunk River Road Race:
1. Kris Taylor, 41:30; 2. Billy MacDonald, 43:59; 3. Calvin DesRoches, 44:09; 4. Alex Bain, 44:18; 5. Scott Clark, 45:55; 6. Steve Reeves, 47:29; 7. Mike Peterson, 48:05; 8. Jamie Mutch, 50:27; 9. Cory Birch, 50:35; 10. Chris McCarthy, 51:43;
11. Nick Foster, 51:52; 12. John Bowser, 53:12; 13. Michael Irvine, 55:38; 14. Peter Walker, 53:42;15. Ken Taylor, 53:45; 16. Dan McCarthy, 54:04; 17. Jeff Mahoney, 54:10; 18. Scott Harvey, 54:13; 19. Allie Keedwell, 54:32; 20. Jacinthe Jackson, 55:11;
21. Robert Harrison, 55:20; 22. Brenda Benson, 56:07; 23. Gordon MacFarlane, 56:12; 24. Dave Perry, 56:21; 25. Terry Mills, 56:45; 26. Dave Clark, 56:50; 27. Nick Bridges, 57:17; 28. Pat Ellis, 57:57; 29. Clarke Petty, 58:11; 30. Bev Walsh, 58:51;
31. Paul Baker, 1:00:57; 32. Allison MacDonald, 1:01:26; 33. Ellen Sherren, 1:01:50; 34. Garth Lowther, 1:02:28; 35. Jennifer Pizio-Perry, 1:02:33; 36. Dianne Watts Pye, 1:04:21; 37. Elaine Burkholder, 1:04:21; 38. Terri VanIderstin, 1:07:16; 39. Clayton Coughlin, 1:07:28; 40. Donnie Walsh, 1:09:42;
41. Paul Pickering, 1:10:13; 42. Melanie Taylor, 1:11:03; 43. Wade Sweet, 1:15:48; 44. Ronda Bellefontaine, 1:18:11; 45. Lynn Anne Hogan, 1:18:11; 46. Louise Coughlin, 1:21:52; 47. Chris Arsenault, 1:32:27.