ANTIGONISH, N.S. - You can say this about the Highland Games’ 5-Mile Road Race and Elite Mile events; it’s easy to remember the male and female winners.
The reason for that; it’s only two names instead of four as former St. F.X. runner Alex Cyr was the male winner in both races and Dalhousie University runner Michelle Reddy the top female for both.
“It was a challenge, but a different challenge to what we’re used to … usually it gets hot,” Cyr, who defended his 5-Mile title from last year, said about the rainy conditions the runners faced during the longer race.
“This is my third year doing the race and it has been super-hot each time, except for this time.”
Now attending school in Ontario, Cyr, an Abram Village, P.E.I. native, said he made sure to book off time around the weekend to travel back to Antigonish.
“I have one month off so I made sure to book the month of July because this is the most important event of my summer; not racing-wise but socially, I get to see all my friends again,” Cyr said, the reunion type of atmosphere very evident following the race.
He noted being in town during Highland Games weekend would also allow him to join in the celebrations for retiring St. F.X. running coach Bernie Chisholm.
“I’m super excited about that,” he said. “He built a dynasty here at X and for all of us to come back and thank Bernie, show our appreciation, it’s crucial, important, and fun as well.”
This was Reddy’s first time doing the Highland Game races and she talked about the 5-Mile course.
“It’s good, it was flat, so that’s a change from most cross-country courses,” she said, noting she has graduated from Dal but is going back for one more year.
Reddy added she was pleased to be able to join teammates and friends for the race.
“A lot of my former and current teammates are here, people from the [Halifax] Road Hammers and, of course, a lot of X runners I recognize,” she said.
Kevin Grant and Gina MacInnis were the committee chairs for both races and Grant noted there were 237 registered runners for the 5-Mile.
“Weather was a bit of a challenge for the organizers but conditions were fine for the runners, other than the course was a bit muddy due to the rain,” he said in an email to the Casket.
He noted trophies were handed out in 10 different age categories and a special addition to this year’s awards was the Cameron Cup. The award honours the late Dr. Jeanie Cameron, an Antigonish native who was a regular participant in the race and overall friend to the Highland Games.
Jeanie’s sons Cameron, Brent and Colin presented the Cameron Cup for the first time to Bedford’s Shari Thurston, first in the senior master female (50 and over) category.
“I like to thank the many volunteers who offer their time to support the runners as well as helping to put together this event. The RCMP as well Shaun Smith and John Pellerin, Town of Antigonish bylaw officers, who assisted with traffic control, a vital part to help ensure the safety of the runners,” Grant wrote.
The complete list of Five-Mile category winners is:
Angus & Marie MacDonald Trophy
Alex Cyr, Abram Village P.E.I.
Alex J. MacAdam Plaque
Michelle Reddy, Dartmouth
Youth Male (14 and under)
Anthony MacDougall, Antigonish,
Youth Female (14 and under)
Sanne Verkoeijen, Antigonish
Junior Male (18 and under)
Stu MacMillian Plaque
Raymond Simpson Pictou County
Junior Female (18 and under)
Joe Earle Award - no winner
Master Male (40 and over)
Leonard Thompson Memorial Trophy
Rami Bardeesy, Halifax
Master Female (40 and over)
Fonse MacIntyre Memorial Trophy
Nattasha Hull, Halifax
Senior Master Male (50 and over)
Cameron’s Jewelers Trophy
David MacLennan, Scotsburn
Senior Master Female (50 and over) The Cameron Cup
Shari Thurston, Bedford
Frank MacGibbon Trophy - top local male runner (Antigonish/Pictou Counties)
Eric Gillis, Antigonish
Evelyn and Donald Gillis
Memorial Trophy - top local female runner (Antigonish)
Gina MacInnis, Antigonish