TRENTON – There is a lot of modesty from the Earle family when it comes to the impact of the annual Joe Earle Road Races in the community.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON – THE NEWS
VJ Earle poses with one of the trophies for the 50th annual Joe Earle Memorial Day Road Races. Each trophy has a special 50th anniversary logo to mark the occasion. The annual event takes place this Monday.
This year the family will be honoured with “Earle Family Day” on Monday, something that is done annually to recognize someone who has made a significant contribution to the running community in Pictou County. V.J. Earle, one of the main organizers of the races, said that it will be a special day for the family as they are recognized by the community and Town of Trenton for their contribution. It will also mark 50 years since V.J.’s father Joe started the races in Trenton.
“We’ve been involved since we were kids doing little things to help dad out, but as he got older we took on more things,” said V.J. “When he got sick we took over everything and promised him that we would make sure it reached 50 years. We’re glad to see 50. It’s quite the feat for a small town like Trenton.”
All eight of Joe’s sons and daughters are expected to be in attendance for the run on May 19, including: V.J., Karen, Mary Anne (Humphries), Dougie, Joanne (Luddington), Patsy (Polley), Robert and Barb (Carrigan).
It was thought that this year would be the last year for the event, but like their father V.J. and others before them, Vernon and Brad Earle will be taking it over to help it continue on.
The plan is for it to continue as it has for recent years with the same events and the five-mile race being the feature event. Although that is the case, V.J. said his father’s favourite race was the four-and-under race, which already has close to 30 entries.
Their registration numbers overall are also up, which V.J. attributes to the anniversary of the event.
“I think the fact that it’s the 50th anniversary is part of the reason why the numbers are up this year,” he said. “A lot of the older ones said they would come for the last year, which we thought this year would be, so that is part of it too.”
A major accomplishment for the group is that they have continued to keep the event free for all participants. There are also badges given to each runner, trophies for all events and a meal for all involved.
“Trenton is a small town with not much in it, but they give a lot to help us put on this race each year,” said V.J. “We also have our lobster draw, which allows us to raise some money to cover costs. Our volunteers also help us to make this a success and some of them are still here from when dad was around. They’re getting older and older, but they’re still here.
“With all the help we get from the community financially and those that volunteer they help us allow kids to keep running for free. There is no reason that a kid that wants to run should have to pay. The fact we’ve been able to do that is one of the big reasons I think it’s lasted so long and become so popular.”
Monday morning the races start at 9:30 a.m. with the Baxter MacArthur Memorial one-mile men’s event.
The running events conclude with the Jock Wilson Memorial half-mile race for boys 11-12 years old at approximately 11:50 a.m.
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