For a dozen years, the HeartLand Tour has been out to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity, and this year’s eight-leg tour is scheduled for July 7-14, starting in Halifax and ending in Yarmouth.
About 225 people took part in last year’s Yarmouth portion of the tour and organizers hope for another good turnout this time, says Jack Harding, Yarmouth HeartLand Tour community leader.
Known mostly as a biking event – especially in its earlier years – the HeartLand Tour has evolved into an initiative that welcomes runners and walkers too and this year, in Yarmouth, organizers have added a five-kilometre walk to go along with the 2K walk they already were offering.
“This year in our area we’ve got a lot of interest from walkers who are coming out to join us,” Harding said, referring to the Yarmouth event taking place Saturday, July 14.
For those who prefer to be on wheels, the Yarmouth leg of the HeartLand Tour again will offer various distance options. Bikers doing the longest route will leave the Rodd Grand Hotel at 9 a.m. along with the walkers, as well as participants in the HeartLand Tour fun run.
“Everyone will start at the same time,” Harding said. “That way we’re all together and it makes it easier.”
Because of road construction in the Eel Brook area, organizers have had to alter the biking course there a bit, Harding said.
‘We’ve had to make a little adjustment, which is okay,” he said. “It’s still going to be a great ride ... We will have lunch at Par-en-Bas school a little bit earlier than we normally would have.”
Registration for the HeartLand Tour’s Yarmouth leg (for the long bike ride, the fun run and the walks) is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. at the Grand Hotel and everything will wrap up that afternoon back at the hotel, where prize draws and closing remarks are scheduled for 2:50 p.m.
Cyclists who would rather not do the longest bike route again will be able to join the group at certain designated points along the way.
As for the HeartLand Tour in general, Harding says more use has been made of social media to get the word out about the event and it seems to be paying off.
“Certainly more people have gone to our website to find out about the exact time and dates of the HeartLand Tour in their community and we’re very encouraged with that,” he said.