Over 200 runners compete in Trapline, four qualify for Boston Marathon
© Submitted photo
Runners in the Trapline Marathon 10 K category started off from Otter Creek on North West River road.
Runners from all over Labrador - and the country - converged in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Oct. 13 to test their endurance, speed, and fitness at the 2013 Trapline Marathon.
In total, 238 participants took part in this year's event, including 146 in the 10 km run; 73 in the 21.1 km half-marathon; and 19 runners who completed the grueling 42.2 km full marathon.
Those competing in the 42.2 km marathon started their course at 8 a.m. in North West River, running the entire length of Route 520, before crossing the finish line at Kinsmen Park in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Nathaniel Pollock, the Trapline Race Director, said at least four of the 19 marathon participants - Michael Jong, Doug Kean, Donnie Sampson, and Jackie Cabot - had times that would qualify them for the Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. (See full race results on page B3).
Donnie Sampson, 33, had only started running four years ago. This year's Trapline was only her second marathon, with last year's Trapline being her first.
In the 2012 marathon, she finished with a respectable time of 4:09:11.8. But she knew she could improve on it this year.
"The first year I did it, I was really nervous about not finishing and I was holding back, holding back," says Sampson.
This year's Trapline was more sentimental for Sampson than in 2012. She ran in honour of her young nephew, Nicholas, who is fighting leukemia.
"So my two children ran the 10 (km) and I ran the full, and we all had shirts on (honouring him)," said Sampson.
This year, with her nephew on her mind, Sampson decided to hold nothing back during her run, and her efforts paid off. Seeing her much-improved time on the clock at the finish line was an emotional moment for her.
"It was overwhelming, quite overwhelming," said Sampson.
Hours after the race, Sampson was still soaking in her accomplishment and couldn't say whether or not she would apply for the Boston Marathon.
"I'm not sure if I will or not, I haven't made up my mind," she said.
'Trapper' had to try the Trapline
Now that the Trapline Marathon is six years old, it has gained a reputation with runners all over the world. One runner came from North Carolina; others came from across Canada.
Steve Traplin, 58, from Dunrobin ON, has been involved with running over the past year. The Trapline was the second marathon he has completed. Because of his last name, Traplin earned the nickname 'Trapper' when he was younger, so when he heard about the Trapline Marathon, he knew he had to run in it.
"The name caught my attention, the destination caught my attention," says Traplin who has never been to Labrador before the marathon.
"The course is gorgeous, but I could have done without 'heartbreak hill.' The organization was awesome. Considering the size of the race, it's better organized than any of the large races I've competed in."
While most runners seemed to be pleased with their efforts after completing the marathon, others were not too happy with their result.
"(My time) was horrible, the worst ever," said Mervyn Dean, from Corner Brook, who now has five Marathons to his credit.
"I'm very unsatisfied with that (4:54:14.7 time), it's my worst time by 25 minutes...I injured my left leg two months ago doing another marathon and trying to balance training with letting it heal...I thought I did a good job, but evidently I did a bad job."
The hundreds of participants in this year's Trapline Marathon provide proof that the event has become an icon in Labrador. The marathon was charged with positive energy and community spirit, as athletes encouraged each other along, and rows of spectators applauded as the runners past by on the street.
Pollock has seen the popularity of marathon running rise in Labrador over the years. He believes that the sport suits the Big Land quite well.
"I think (running) is a very accessible sport, you don't need a lot of equipment or anything to do it. It doesn't cost a lot of money and you can do it most places."
"I think, when we see 15 communities in Labrador sending runners to the Trapline, I think that's a sign that people are really enjoying it."
The event wouldn't take place if it wasn't for the 100 plus volunteers, and dedication from the organizers, said Pollack.
"It's one of those events, like the Labrador Winter Games...and Lab Cup, where it would be impossible without all the volunteers."
Pollock and the other Trapline organizers are already looking ahead to next year's marathon, which will take place during the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend. Registration for the 7th annual Trapline Marathon will open April 15, 2014.