Scott Clark is proving age is only a number.
The veteran runner from Linkletter, who is less than a month shy of his 56th birthday, put in a strong and steady performance in winning the gruelling 46th annual Malpeque Bay Credit Union 25-Kilometre Harvest Festival Road Race on Saturday morning in a time of 1 hour 43 minutes 22 seconds (1:43:22).
“I don’t even think of age when I am out there,” said Clark, who was also presented with the award for the top 50-and-over runner. “I felt really good and I love running the hills.
“It will separate a lot of people. If you don’t train on them you are going to pay the price for sure. I’m fortunate I get to train on them and it paid off (Saturday).”
Clark finished just under five minutes ahead of 31-year-old Alex Bain (1:48:04) and Steve Dohaney was third in 1:50:02.
“Alex and I have been duking it out the last few races,” said Clark. “He beat me on the (Confederation) Bridge solidly and I nipped him at the Dunk River (Run) and I got him on the trail race in Brookvale. We’ve had a couple of good battles.”
It was Clark’s second time winning the Harvest Festival race. He has run P.E.I.’s longest-running road racing event “10 or 12” times.
“It helps that a lot of the super speedsters are out of province at an event in Nova Scotia,” added a smiling Clark, who was planning to participate in the Olympic-distance Tri-Lobster triathlon in Summerside on Sunday morning.
Ironically, Clark was also planning on competing in a 100-mile event in Nova Scotia on Saturday, but a family wedding in the afternoon resulted in a change of plans.
“By virtue of that I was able to come to the race, so I was excited to come back and participate in one of the oldest races in the Maritimes, if not Canada for that matter,” said Clark.
Clark said a key to his victory came early in the race when he was able to make up valuable time through the gruelling hills. The “Killer Course” features steep hills right off the start of the race in Stanchel and into Kinkora.
“I pushed it hard right from the first kilometre,” said Clark. “I felt good so I said, ‘I’m going to push the hills and see if I can make a gap early because that is where my strength is.’
“Every time I go out of our summer home out in Darnley it’s all hills out there. They are not big like some of these, but they are big enough to get you ready for it. It really works in your favour to train on some hills.”
Bain jumped out to the lead up to about the 2K mark, but Clark quickly closed the gap.
“I didn’t take him for granted because Alex is pretty tough out there,” said Clark. “I would look back every water stop. I would never look back until I got to the water stops and I would have a peek back and finally after about 20K I could see the gap was growing.
“I kind of relaxed a little bit, but still I wanted to have a strong race. I finished strong and am really pleased.”
At A Glance
- A look at the Harvest Festival 25K Road Race:
- Distance – 25 kilometres.
- Start line – Stanchel.
- Finish line – Alysha Toombs Memorial Park in Kensington.
- Course nickname – Killer Course.
- 2019 top male runner – Scott Clark (1:43:22).
- 2019 top female runner – Helga Reisch-MacNeill (1:53:20).
- 2019 most dedicated runner – Wayne Gairns.
- Participants – 43 completed the race.
- Course records – Stanley Chaisson (1:25:51), 2007; Jen Nicholson (1:42:02), 2008.
Overall, 43 runners completed the race, which is five fewer than in 2018.
“We were down a little bit in runners this year, but there are a lot of other things happening on the Island besides running events right now,” said longtime Harvest Festival race director Ivan Gallant, who acknowledged the efforts and contributions of volunteers and sponsors. “Some years you are up and some years you are down, but it’s still a worthwhile event as far as I’m concerned.”
Overall, Gallant was very pleased.
“It is a tough race and it’s not for everybody,” acknowledged Gallant. “A lot of people are doing other events such as triathlons, ironman events and so on that are going now.
“You are trying to attract more new runners because other people who have done this a few times are trying something different. It’s still a success as far as I am concerned and hopefully next year we will try to go from here and build it up and see how it works.”
Complete results of the 46th annual Malpeque Bay Credit Union Harvest Festival Road Race on Saturday morning:
1. Scott Clark (1:43:22); 2. Alex Bain (1:48:04); 3. Steve Dohaney (1:50:02); 4. Andrew Bryenton (1:51:57); 5. Helga Reisch-MacNeill (1:53:20); 6. Paul Burnley (2:00:49); 7. Jessica Forgie (2:01:00); 8. Josh Smith (2:01:40); 9. Leanne Vessey (2:03:39); 10. Jason Scarbro (2:05:27);
11. DJ Welton (2:08:27); 12. Leigh Ellen Walsh (2:09:09); 13. Jacob Simmons (2:09:39); 14. Francis Fagan (2:10:47); 15. Pam Power-McKenna (2:11:32); 16. Tony Wilson (2:12:16); 17. Michael Irvine (2:13:37); 18. Peter Goodacre (2:15:28); 19. Kipp Preston (2:18:26); 20. Scott Barry (2:18:30);
21. Natalie McDonald (2:20:10); 22. Sandra Gregory (2:20:18); 23. Chad MacMillan (2:20:52); 24. Paula Bzdell (2:24:00); 25. John Smallman (2:24:13); 26. Adam Stewart (2:24:37); 27. Corey Court (2:25:18); 28. Wayne Gairns (2:25:34); 29. Kevin MacIsaac (2:27:24); 30. Sylvio Bourque (2:39:06);
31. David Craig (2:39:36); 32. Matt Crane (2:43:13); 33. Angela Tozer (2:43:13); 34. Andy McQueen (2:45:33); 35. Mary Greenaway (2:45:33); 36. Katherine Gaudreau (2:46:17); 37. Shanice MacDonald (2:48:45); 38. Monica Higgins (2:51:08); 39. Glenn MacInnis (2:53:47); 40. Melissa Hannauer (2:53:47);
41. Sarah Higgins (2:57:08); 42. Andrew Tobin (2:58:12); 43. Christine Thibaudier (3:46:40).