Longtime Race to the Sea volunteer prepares to run

Brodie Thomas
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Ten years after becoming involved with Race to the Sea, volunteer Patsy Brownrigg is finally going to run a leg in the annual event.

Patsy Brownrigg wears a volunteer t-shirt from a previous Race to the Sea event while training to run in this year’s event.

The race is set to run this Saturday, Aug 11.

“This year my motivation is that all my family is going to be home, it’s been ten years, and I’m turning 50,” she said.

The first race was in 1993 and Mrs. Brownrigg was working for the Chamber of Commerce at that time. Helping with the organization was part of her job. But after three years, she stayed on as a volunteer, helping every year except in 2008, when family commitments got in the way.

“I saw it as a really worthwhile event and it’s a whole lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a great day, it’s an opportunity to showcase our area, and I’m a show off.”

The annual race has ten legs, with teams of ten taking turns to run from Cape Anguille Lighthouse to Rose Blanche Lighthouse.

Mrs. Brownrigg will be running the second leg of the race, from MacIsaac’s store in St. Andrews to Belanger School in Upper Ferry. Her goal is to run that leg in under an hour, although the female record for that leg is around 38 minutes.

She said she is petrified of running in the race, although she isn’t sure why.

“I’ve been talking to other people about going your own pace and not picking up on other peoples pace at the beginning.”

To train, Mrs. Brownrigg has been running three or four times per week. Although she has been walking for many years, she only started running in March.

“There are some runners in my family so I’ve been getting advice from them as well,’ she said.

Changes

As someone who was there form the start, Mrs. Brownrigg has seen a few changes with the race over the years. She said at first the organizers really had little idea of how an organized road race should function, and they looked to the runners for advice.

Routes have been tweaked over the years. The race has always finished in Rose Blanche, and at first the end-of-race social was held there too. Organizers later moved it to Port aux Basques in order to have it in a more central location.

She said they used to order the same t-shirts for runners and volunteers, but some runners felt it was important for volunteers to have distinct shirts. That change was made.

Mrs. Brownrigg thought of at least one other important change since the first race.

“Port-a-potties,” she said. “We didn’t have those the first time. It was every man for himself.”

She said the race was created, in part, as an economic boost to local businesses. She feels it has done that over the years.

“These runners are fanatics, and they travel with their family or their kids they don’t travel alone they get a campsite or a cabin or a hotel room.”

Other spinoffs include meals, shopping, and general exposure to the beautiful scenery of the southwest coast.

On the other nine legs of the race this year, Mrs. Brownrigg will continue to volunteer and help out with the day’s events. Her usual job?

“They put me on the megaphone,” said Mrs. Brownrigg with a laugh. “I can’t imagine why.”

Organizations: Chamber of Commerce, Belanger School

Geographic location: Cape Anguille Lighthouse, Rose Blanche, Port aux Basques

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