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Get your running shoes ready: Hantsport's annual Canada Day road race marking milestone

Every year, participants from across the Maritime Provinces — and beyond — converge on Hantsport to take part in the Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race or the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race.
Every year, participants from across the Maritime Provinces — and beyond — converge on Hantsport to take part in the Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race or the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race.

HANTSPORT, N.S. — A race honouring the memory of Hantsport's only solider to be killed in action during the Second World War is still going strong some 70 years later.

The Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race will once again be held on Canada Day in Hantsport, as will the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race. They will start concurrently at 9:30 a.m.

Both races are tributes to men who promoted the sport, and Bill Preston, who is helping promote the event this year, says the races are family-friendly.

“It's the type of race that anyone can participate in,” says Preston.

“There's always a winner but it's sort of like the Boston Marathon. It doesn't matter how you finish,” said Preston.

“You get the spectators out there clapping as they go by. It's really nice.”

 

How the races began

Beazley was born and raised in Hantsport. He was considered one of the best distance runners in the Maritime Provinces throughout the 1930s.

On Feb. 26, 1945, the 33-year-old died in Germany — and was the only Hantsport resident to be killed in action during the Second World War. He left behind his wife and three children.

Veterans of Hantsport's Lucknow Branch No.109 of the Royal Canadian Legion wanted to commemorate the fallen soldier and on July 1, 1947, the first road race was held in his honour. It was part of Hantsport's first Dominion Day/Canada Day celebrations, and has been held every year since.

The race represents the second longest annually run race in Nova Scotia, and its winners include some of the best runners in the Maritime Provinces, said Preston.

The second race, which is shorter, is named after Robertson, who, to this day, still competes in the annual affair.

Robertson, who was born in Four Falls, New Brunswick, moved to Hantsport in 1946, where he proceeded to get a job, marry, and raise a family. He was a dedicated runner and encouraged a two-mile race to be held to encourage young people to try the sport. The first race occurred on July 1, 1976, and has been held every year since.

Robertson has been running for more than six decades. In 1997, the race was named to honour his accomplishments, Preston said.

“It really would be a shame to ever see it disappear,” said Preston, noting his late father used to thoroughly enjoy watching the runners compete.

 

 

If you go

What: The Dick Beazley Memorial Six-Mile Race and the Arnold Robertson Two-Mile Race

When: Races will start concurrently at 9:30 a.m. on Canada Day and proceed around a relatively flat two-mile loop in Hantsport; registration runs from 8-9:15 a.m.

Where: Starting/ending at 20 Main St., Hantsport

Cost: $10 per person or $20 dollars per family

Details: Trophies, medals, and draw prizes will be presented at 11 a.m.; post-race food and water will be provided for runners. Spectators are invited to line up and cheer the participants on.

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