Twenty years ago, Yarmouth County’s longtime annual 10-kilometre running event was renamed in memory of one of its former champions – Sheila Poole – and this year, to help mark the 20th anniversary of the name change, organizers are planning to present some special prizes.
They would rather not give details, only to say they will commemorate the rechristening of the event two decades ago from the Human Race – its original name – to the Sheila Poole 10K.
This year’s race will be held Saturday, July 21. Again, the event will get underway at 9 a.m., with the start by Frost Park on Water Street and the finish by Rudder’s, also on Water Street.
Poole – a Human Race champion in the early 1990s, when she was one of Nova Scotia’s best distance runners – died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 35 and the Human Race was subsequently renamed in her honour.
Just over 100 runners took part in last year’s event.
Nancy Bishara, a sister of Poole’s and co-race director for the event (along with Paulette Sweeney-Goodwin), notes that while the race draws a good number of out-of-town runners, organizers would like to see more local entrants.
“We really would like to encourage more local people to participate because that’s what Sheila would have wanted,” Bishara said. “She would have been happy to see that.”
One local resident who plans to run the race again this year is Bryan Hipson, who has won the Sheila Poole open men’s championship the past three years.
Another well-known Sheila Poole champion – 11-time women’s winner Denise Robson – says she also intends to run it again this year, although she isn’t sure where her fitness level will be, given the Achilles tendinitis she’s had to contend with over the past year or so.
Robson, who has won the Sheila Poole women’s title the past six years, lives in Cole Harbour, but she’s originally from Yarmouth and says she looks forward to running the Sheila Poole race each summer.
This year the Sheila Poole 10K falls on the same weekend as the Nova Scotia Marathon, the long-running Shelburne County event that goes Sunday, July 22. The annual Barrington race offers various distance options, from 5K to the marathon.
“It happens every once in a while that we coincide the same weekend,” Bishara said.
The Sheila Poole 10K remains a special event for the Poole family, she said.
“Hopefully my parents will be able to come down and present the awards at the end of the race again too,” she said.