By RENE J. ROY
PORT AUX BASQUES — On Thursday, June 24, a tsunami of colour hit the streets of Port aux Basques as the inaugural Participaction Fun Run took place.
Shauna Strickland, Recreation Director for the Town, and Megan Scott, Summer Recreation Co-ordinator, both ran and oversaw the event that started and ended at the Bruce II arena.
Strickland says the event was first brought up by councillor Justin Blackler a few years ago, “But then COVID hit, and we couldn’t do anything.” With over 100 expected joggers, walkers, bicyclists taking part, Strickland and Scott were kept busy sorting out the logistics of the run.
The first painting zone was at the the end of Hardys Arterial. Two volunteers were all smiles and confessed their glee at being allowed to throw paint at participants. Marcus Farrell and Jack Strickland stood ready with red solo cups full of vivid pink paint, barely containing their excitement. Marcus, for his part, was particularly excited at the chance to blast his mother, Vanessa.
“It’s gonna be pretty fun,” said Marcus.
The paint itself was simply brightly coloured powder, almost like ground-up chalk, making it both safe and completely washable. But the paint throwers had a lot of it to spare.
With seven designated painting zones on the route, the runners were doused at Hardy’s Arterial, at the bottom of Brook Hill, near Scott’s Cove Park, the old Port Club, Pizza Delight, the Memorial Park, and at the Grand Bay fire hall.
It was quite a gauntlet for the runners, whose ages ranged from infants to grandparents.
“We have mothers entered who are bringing their kids in strollers, so I hope they cover them up well!” said Strickland.
The event was made possible by way of a small grant from the Federal Government.
The end of the run was a Grand Finale of sorts, with about 80 cups of paint powder ready for a huge cloud of colour, and three prizes being drawn randomly to award to some runners. There were also to-go-cups and small prizes being given away at the event.
Local marathoner Sherry Strickland was drawn in by the colourful event, just for fun despite already having completed two half-marathons in a year.
Emma Smith, 10, and Grady Blackler, 9, were the first runners to finish the loop, and appeared to get through the checkpoints relatively unscathed. Grady was sporting a rather large blotch of yellow on one side of his head.
“I got it in my ear, and i saw a tree, so I got a leaf and had to dig it out,” he explained.
As more and more participants arrived at the finish line, the cups began to empty quickly, covering everyone in a rainbow cloud that spared nobody. Shauna Strickland took a huge hit of paint directly on her head, but she was all smiles anyway, which can be said for everyone who participated.
The event went off so well that Strickland says she hopes it will become an annual event.