Imagine running along the ocean floor.
Then, imagine doing it as some of the highest tides in the world are coming in.
That’s the premise of Race Against the Tide, a fun run along the beach at Kingsport, and the kickoff event of the annual Kingsport Gala Day.
This year’s event will take place June 22, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the run itself getting underway at 8 a.m. The cost for registration is $10.
Race Against the Tide is now in its fourth year, though the Kingsport Gala Day celebration itself has been held for longer.
According to run organizer Christine Heap, Gala Day “has evolved over the years, and is an annual celebration of community as well as a fundraiser to support community events that take place throughout the year.”
Heap explains, “over the past few years, many of us in and around the community have tried to increase our activity levels. About 11 years ago, we started a fitness group that meets in the Lloyd Centre (the community hall owned and operated by the Kingsport Community Association).
Each year, volunteers gather to brainstorm events for the Gala Day calendar.
“We thought it would be fun to take advantage of our beautiful waterfront and organize a run on the ocean floor,” she said.
For those who may not have visited or aren’t familiar – and as Heap points out, “many of our runners don’t know it until they see it” - Kingsport beach is a flat, red sand beach on the Minas Basin.
“So, yes, there is eel grass, there is mud, there are creeks, and there are the highest tides in the world.”
The event is normally held in the early morning, “because we know our runners like that.” So, the reality is, “every year, the tide will be in a different place.”
At times in the past, “the tide has been out so far that the runners who have visited Kingsport later have been shocked to see how much water there is when the tide is in. This year, there will be an incoming tide, which will be interesting.”
Numbers over the years have been variable, depending on what other events are on that day, but the event is held rain or shine. As Heap points out, “our best attended year was also our wettest.”
To be fair, running on sand is not the same as running on a harder surface, which adds to both the challenge and the fun.
“Even the slowest runners/walkers complete the course in an hour, and yes, it is more challenging than road running. For experienced runners, it is a fun alternative, and for those starting out, it’s quite a test,” she said.
Although the event is advertised as a fun run, there is always some healthy competition at the front of the race, Heap adds.
“It appeals to many different runners – some come as part of a group, some as families, and some because they travel around the province going to every beach run,” she said.
Although medals are awarded to the top finishers, “our best prizes are always a draw for all those who complete the course.” This year, for the first time, there will be a team prize awarded.
Kingsport, Heap points out, is a small but very active community.
“There are year-round residents, seasonal residents and visitors who come for a short stay and come back again and again,” she said.
Race Against the Tide is one reason people come and has become a big reason they keep coming back.
Go online: For more information on Race Against the Tide and on Kingsport Gala Days in general, there are two Facebook pages one can visit – athttps://www.facebook.com/RaceAgainsttheTide and at https://www.facebook.com/kingsportgaladays/notifications. The community of Kingsport also has a website athttp://kingsport.ca.