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Fun running under the midnight sun
Sunny skies and high turnout at annual foot race

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's just like any other running event except it happens in the middle of the night.

NNSL photo/graphic

Eric Church takes off at the head of the pack during the 10-km group start at Chief Jim Koe Park in the evening on June 23. - Laura Busch/NNSL photo

The 2012 Midnight Sun Fun Run attracted a solid turnout this year, with 75 runners participating in the half marathon, 10-km or 5-km events.

True to the name of the event, runners in the 5-km race took their marks at midnight on June 23 and enjoyed sunny and warm conditions as they worked their way through their route.

The longer half-marathon and 10-km races left Chief Jim Koe Park earlier in the evening to ensure that athletes finished their runs at approximately the same time.

Most runners crossed the finish like between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. on June 24, and as more came in, they stayed to cheer on others.

"You hear cheers of support and pats on the back, and that's what it's all about," said Eric Church, who had the fastest time in the 10-km race.

"I think it provides a great atmosphere for people and coming across the line with everyone at the end gives you a boost in energy," said recreation co-ordinator Rose Constantineau, who organized the event with Cynthia Wicks of the Inuvik running club. "Plus, you get to do it under the midnight sun. How many people can say that?"

Many runners who came out use the annual event as an excuse to ramp up their training in the spring, though most have a love for the sport and say they would be training regardless.

"I run for the love of it, to stay fit and because it clears my head," said Church. "And also for the social aspect. It's nice to come out and see a fit community and also enjoy (the event)."

Runners of various ages ran during the weekend event. The youngest participant was seven-year-old Aaron Halpine, who ran the 5-km race with his mom, Kim Halpine.

"It wasn't that hard, it just got hard a couple of times, but then I just kept running," said Aaron.

To add to the diversity among runners, 12-year-old Farrell Pope completed the 5-km run in good time on crutches. Pope wore a cast on his right leg because he broke a bone in his ankle during the NWT Track and Field Championships in Hay River earlier this month.

The novelty of completing a race during the midnight hour was not lost on any of the participants.

"I figured this was probably the only chance in my life I'd have to do a half marathon at night," said Chris Turski, who posted the fastest time for the half-marathon race and is in Inuvik for a one-month locum at the Inuvik Regional Hospital. "But once you get going, you don't really notice what time it is."

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