ANTIGONISH, N.S. - Participants are being called to the starting blocks to honour veteran St. F.X. running coach Bernie Chisholm, who retired at the conclusion of the 2017-18 school year.
Events are planned around Antigonish Highland Games weekend (July 6 to 8) to honour the highly-successful and decorated Antigonish coach who led the cross-country and track and field teams at St. F.X. for 32 seasons.
“To honour his decades of dedication, we have organized a weekend to bring together Bernie’s former athletes, supporters, friends and families,” a passage on the St. F.X. athletics website (goxgo.ca) reads.
One of the ‘we’ in that sentence is former athlete Gina MacInnis who wants to let the public know the activities planned are for anyone interested in celebrating Chisholm’s extensive and impressive career, not just former athletes and X students.
“We feel like we’re reaching alumni quite well, but not so much Bernie’s friends and supporters, in the community,” MacInnis said.
“So this is, more so, informing the community this is going on and inviting them. I don’t want people to think it’s just for alumni; it’s for supporters of the sport and Bernie.”
The schedule of activities starts with Friday (July 6) evening’s Highland Games Five Mile Road Race. Later that evening, there is a social planned at the Golden X Inn which is for all-ages from 8 to 11 p.m., and 19-and-over after 11 p.m.
MacInnis described the social as an “informal meet-and-greet” which should be a great opportunity for folks to catch up while offering coach Chisholm best wishes on his retirement.
Another race begins Saturday’s activities – the Highland Games Elite Mile Road Race at 8:50 a.m. It’s followed by an event MacInnis anticipates community members being most interested in attending – a banquet brunch – the more formal ceremony to thank Chisholm.
“That’s the more formal thank-you, send off,’ she said, of the event which will take place at the Keating Centre conference room.
Following the brunch, there is an opportunity to take a campus tour and, later on Saturday, the Highland Games Ceilidh for those 19-and-over, with it taking place in the beer tent at the Games’ location at Columbus Field.
Activities conclude on Sunday morning with an informal run/walk from the Keating Centre, scheduled for 10 a.m.
“Community members can just purchase tickets to go to just the brunch or they can purchase weekend passes, which include the Inn, brunch and beer tent on Saturday night at the Highland Games,” MacInnis said, noting prices are just to cover expenses but there will be an opportunity to donate to an endowment fund being raised in Chisholm’s name.
There is an early-bird rate which MacInnis hopes folks will take advantage of to give organizers a better sense of numbers.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback but not a lot registering, so far,” she said, talking to the Casket June 8.
“So, similar to a wedding, we just want to get some idea of numbers, so we put this early bird option in.
“We’ve had a lot of communication with former alumni; a good list of former athletes who ran for Bernie, but not necessarily reaching the community,” she added, reiterating an earlier point.
Registering can be done at www.alumni.stfx.ca/coachbernie, and further information can be obtained by contacting MacInnis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the Highland Games, visit antigonishhighlandgames.ca.