The Malpeque Bay Credit Union Harvest Festival 25-Kilometre Road Race is a family affair for the MacNeill family.
While Dr. Helga Reisch-MacNeill of Kensington has established herself as one of the race’s top female runners in recent years, her husband, Steven, and sons Matthew, Sam and Thomas volunteer.
“It was nice to get the family involved,” said Reisch-MacNeill in a post-race interview standing next to her sons. “That’s a big thing, right guys?”
Reisch-MacNeill won top female honours for the third year in a row, stopping the clock in 1 hour 53 minutes 20 seconds (1:53:20). She was fifth overall out of 43 runners.
“Today was about trying to maintain a pace because it was hot and you don’t want to run out of steam too early and I kind of ran out,” admitted Reisch-MacNeill. “The last couple of kilometres were hard.”
But Reisch-MacNeill, who works at the Prince County Hospital and Summerside Medical Centre, will remember much more than her victory. Her 2019 experience was about sharing special moments with her family, which worked the water stop halfway through the gruelling course. It was there she received two glasses of water – one each from Thomas and Sam. She drank one and poured the other over an unexpected Matthew.
“I got my 15-year-old boy splashed at the water station and he was surprised,” said a smiling Reisch-MacNeill. “One point for momma. . . That was fun!”
Matthew returned the favour with a jug of water just after Reisch-MacNeill crossed the finish line at Alysha Toombs Memorial Park alongside Credit Union Centre in Kensington.
“I got you back,” added Matthew to which Reisch-MacNeill replied, “He thinks he got me back at the finish, but it just felt good at the end.”
Especially after the hot conditions that faced the runners.
“It was a beautiful day but it was a little bit warm,” said Reisch-MacNeill. “The sun was really shining and it was not cloudy like the forecast had predicted. That was a little bit of a surprise.”
Having run this race many times, Reisch-MacNeill has a good understanding of the course.
“You have to take the first 10K a little slower than you would like and that helps a lot,” said Reisch-MacNeill, who won top female honours in 2017 in 1:59:49 and was a co-winner in 2018, crossing the finish line with Charlottetown native and Halifax resident Erin Poirier in an identical time of 1:57:53. She said she was very happy with her 2019 run.
“If I can finish this race I am at the fitness level I want to be at and that makes me happy,” said Reisch-MacNeill. “That’s what I aim for.”
Reisch-MacNeill said it is always special to run in her hometown race.
“It was a beautiful day and it’s always great to see a good turnout,” she added. “This is a really lovely event and thank you to (race director) Ivan (Gallant) for organizing it because it is a lot of work, I know that.”
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).