Nearly 40 Bracebridge residents braved boiling temperatures in a musically themed series of races this past weekend in North Muskoka.
The Bracebridge runners were among the 311 runners who took part in the Band on the Run event in Huntsville on Sunday, June 10. The annual race, which helps benefit Habitat for Humanity Muskoka, saw temperatures soar as high as 28 C as runners from across the province took on five-, 10- and 21-kilometre courses. The courses brought runners from the centre of town to areas as far north as Williamsport Road, just south of Arrowhead Provincial Park.
Spurring the runners on through the high temperatures were live performances from a variety of musicians along each race route, ranging from individual performers to full bands.
“It was kind of cool, it kind of took your mind off the actual run,” said Bracebridge runner Christine Cousins.
Though Cousins is a veteran of several 10-kilometre runs, she said she had never taken on a challenge under such high temperatures.
“We were just sweating right from the go,” she said.
By contrast, taking on the 21-kilometre half-marathon event went a bit more smoothly for veteran Bracebridge runner Fyonna Vanderwerf. A former participant in the New York City Marathon and a past competitor in three Ironman Canada competitions, Vanderwerf appeared well prepared for Sunday’s event.
“When I did Ironman Canada it was actually about two degrees higher,” she said.
Having run alongside an athlete in a wheelchair in the New York City Marathon, Vanderwerf was grateful she had the ability to run every step of the Band on the Run marathon, despite the sizzling heat.
“It’s an honour to be able to move and to breathe,” she said. “It was really fun to run, it’s such an opportunity to enjoy what your body’s capable of.”
Running under such punishing temperatures, however, was a milestone for fellow Bracebridge runner Kathleen Mason, who took on the 10-kilometre course.
“I just kept dousing it on the top of my head, trying to cool down,” she said. “It was good to have that under our belts for experience, but wow that was a challenging course.”