In the town they’re searching for us everywhere
Randy Mitson will be portaging a canoe along the five-kilometre route for this Sunday’s Band on the Run Huntsville half-marathon.
PHOTO BY BRENT COOPER
But we never will be found
– Lyrics from Band on The Run, performed by Wings.
Maybe the missing people were simply out running, like the Huntsville firefighters will be in their gear.
Or perhaps they were hard to see with their face under a canoe, like Randy Mitson will do in a few days.
They could even be lost among the hundreds expected to be outside, cheering on the participants.
Whatever the case may be, you will find all the aforementioned people busy this coming Sunday, as they will be either competing, volunteering or watching the first-ever Band on the Run Huntsville half-marathon.
The name comes from the song made famous by Paul McCartney and his 1970s band Wings, an idea based on the fact the route will be lined with live music playing for the runners and supporters alike.
The not-for-profit half-marathon is a 21.1-kilometre race starting in Huntsville’s downtown River Mill Park. It heads uphill to Arrowhead Provincial Park and loops back around to end in the downtown core. Race organizers have added a five-kilometre and a 10-kilometre route to the event as well to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
And the first one said to the second one there I hope you’re having fun.
– Band on the Run Lyrics
It is that thought of having fun that has two rather unique entries lined up for the shorter run on Sunday.
Local volunteer firefighters will don their fire-fighting garb to run the five-kilometre loop as part of their ongoing fitness program to keep them in shape when they respond to emergency calls.
Nick Musters, who is heading up the program for the firefighters, said he and possibly 11 other members will join the other runners on Sunday, but will wear all their “bunker gear,” including thermal-layer pants/coats and helmet.
The only exception to this rule will be their footwear, which will be the more traditional running show as opposed to the heavy, uncomfortable boots firefighters traditionally wear on the job.
“We also like to get our faces out in the community … we also thought it would be a crazy idea. (The gear) doesn’t really breathe well and it is completely opposite of what a runner really wants to be using out there.”
Speaking of “completely opposite” how about running with a canoe on your head?
Randy Mitson, who is the marketing manager for Algonquin Outfitters, is also taking a “crazy idea” along with him across the five-kilometre run. He will be portaging, or in other words, carrying a full-sized canoe with him along the course.
“I am not a runner. The big thing is that the half-marathon is a fun thing. There will be music playing and everyone can do it. A five-kilometre portage is a long portage, but I have done longer ones before. So in the theme of keeping things fun, I thought I would portage.”
He said the canoe is lightweight and won’t be a great burden for him to carry along the route. In fact, Mitson is daring others to come “portaging” with him for the five-km run.
“I have a plan in place for not coming in last place. I probably will come in last but, I will let everyone run ahead of me for safety reasons, but I want to challenge others to come out portaging, for possibly a portage-canoe category. I have heard that a lot of people might do it but if we got six people-including myself – to come out and portage I will put a trophy up, that’s a paddle, and we would put a plaque on it every year with the winner’s name on it.”
Unlike Mitson, Musters said his running mates would be just carrying their outerwear on their backs during the run.
“We won’t be carrying any tanks with us. We were originally going to do that but a few of our trainers decided against it. We ditched that idea.”
While the run maybe a bit of a lark for the firefighters, it doesn’t mean the volunteers will be irresponsible with their health during the race.
“We will be stopping partway with a rehab (station) set up for two or three minutes so we can stop off and get our electrolytes and get back in action,” he said. “We will also have a major rehab set up at the end just as if we were coming out of a fire.”
Thought of giving it all away, to a registered charity.
– Band on The Run Lyrics.
The run is not-for-profit and anything after expenses will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity, Muskoka build.
For more information about the race, its routes, registration or volunteer opportunities go to bandontherun.ca.