Robert Jewer of Halifax won the 2011 Sheila Poole race. Jewer also won the event in 2009. Carla Allen photo
By Eric Bourque
The next big event on the Yarmouth running calendar will take place Saturday, July 21, with the Sheila Poole 10-K, a race nearly three decades old if you count the 13 years it was held under its previous name.
Introduced in 1985 as the Human Race, the event was renamed after the death, in the fall of 1997, of Sheila Poole, a local native and standout distance runner, whose many accomplishments in the sport included a couple of Human Race victories in the early nineties. (She died of cancer at 35 years of age.)
Last year the Sheila Poole event drew about 235 participants, the most ever, says race spokesperson Paulette Sweeney-Goodwin.
“Every year it’s been growing,” she said.
The race seems to reflect the local popularity of running, which appears to be higher than ever, given the number of people out on the roads.
“We do have a good segment of our community that is getting engaged in the sport of running and that is absolutely wonderful to see,” Sweeney-Goodwin said.
A longtime runner herself who has been involved in the Yarmouth area’s annual 10-K from the start, Sweeney-Goodwin says the organizers likely never considered, back in the mid-1980s, when the race was first held, how long it might last.
“You don’t really think about that,” she said. “You deal with it one race at a time, one event at a time, and it’s always exciting. What has been the most exciting for this event here, regardless of the name – formerly Human Race, now Sheila Poole – is to see the growth (in the number) of local runners, and when I say local, I mean the tri-counties. It has just exploded over the last few years.”
She also notes that while there are more runners in the local area, there are more running events too.
“There is a very active running community now,” she said.
It’s great to see people getting active and keeping fit, she said.
“We, of course, like to see the runners out there,” she said, “but whether a person chooses to walk, to swim, to cycle, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re doing something because fitness is such an investment in your health.”
The start time for the Sheila Poole race is 9 a.m. Runners were being asked to register in advance. They can do so by going to the event’s website, www.sheilapoole10K.com, printing out an entry form and mailing it in. Race-day registrations will be accepted but with an extra $10 fee.
The race begins at Frost Park and the finish is at Killam Brothers Wharf.