Another chapter in P.E.I.’s longest-running road racing event is about to be written.
The 46th annual Malpeque Bay Credit Union Harvest Festival 25-Kilometre Road Race will take place this Saturday, Aug. 17. The race will start on Route 225 by the old Church of Scotland in Stanchel, 10 kilometres east of Kinkora, at 8:30 a.m., and will finish at the Alysha Toombs Memorial Park alongside Credit Union Centre in Kensington. The race is part of the 2019 Hashem’s Variety/P.E.I. Roadrunners Club Points Series.
Not only is this race known for its longevity, but also a strong degree of difficulty. Its challenging hills, especially early in the race moving from Stanchel through Kinkora and into Freetown, along with some steady inclines, led to former Journal Pioneer sports editor Bill Semple putting the tag “Killer Course” on the race.
“Every runner needs to experience the ‘Killer Course,’” said race director Ivan Gallant, who is hoping for another strong turnout of runners after 48 participants braved very wet and windy conditions in 2018.
Gallant, a longtime organizer of this race, noted pre-registration will be held at Credit Union Centre on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., and from 7:30 to 8:20 a.m. before the start of the race in Stanchel on Saturday. He added there will be water stops every five kilometres and at the halfway point of the race.
Who has the most appearances in the Harvest Festival Road Race?
The answer is Francis Fagan of Charlottetown.
He ran it for the 20th time in 2018, moving past Ewen Stewart, who has 19 Festival races on his resumé.
The current course records have both stood for a number of years.
Bear River native Stanley Chaisson, a former athletic director at Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School, set the current course record of 1:25:51 in 2007.
Jen Nicholson of Cornwall established a new female mark of 1:42:02 in 2008.
Winsloe native Brandon Higginbotham was the 2018 overall winner, stopping the clock in one hour 31 minutes 52 seconds (1:31:52). Mike Pederson of Charlottetown was second in 1:37:52. Pederson has won back-to-back Dunk River Run titles in Bedeque, with times of 44:51 in 2018 and 45:39 on July 28.
Charlottetown native Erin Poirier, who now lives in Halifax, and Dr. Helga MacNeill of Kensington crossed the finish line together in 1:57:53 to share top female honours in the 2018 Harvest Festival race. Poirier was the top female runner in this year’s 11.6-kilometre Dunk River Run in 49:16.
An awards presentation will follow the race inside Credit Union Centre. There will also be post-race snacks for the runners and showers will be available at Credit Union Centre following the race.