NEW GLASGOW – Thursday night the first six inductees into the Glenn “Big Dog” Chenell Runners Hall of Fame were announced.
As part of the annual Johnny Miles Running Events special recognition awards night, Glenn’s wife Liz was present to announce the inductees.
Janet Fraser, Mary Cantrell and Patsy Langille were the three female inductees, while Lawson Breen, Dave MacLennan and Charlie Langille were the males.
Fraser began her running career with her daughter Gayle and after running shorter distances discovered she was passionate about running marathons. She has now run 23 in total, including the 2014 Boston Marathon. She has also shared her love for running by coaching beginner runners, taking great pride in their accomplishments.
A valued member of the Pictou County running community, Cantrell began running in with her first 10k in Bermuda in 1980. Her first full marathon was a year later in Ottawa.
Three decades after her first run, Cantrell’s love of running, biking and swimming led her to participate in the Timberman Ironman 70.3, where she qualified for the World Championship Ironman 70.3 in Clearwater, Fla.
Langille was unable to attend the event last night, but she was recognized for being a runner and teaching people how to run for many years. She has run between 40 and 50 marathons, including Boston, and has participated in two Ironman Triathlons.
The next inductee, Breen, was described as quiet and unassuming, someone you wouldn’t know how many miles he’s put in over the years. He’s a staple at the YMCA every day and even in the lowest points in his life never missed his daily workout, always having a smile on his face.
MacDonald was introduced as one of Chenell’s best friends for many years with more than running in common – they were both car fanatics. Chenell admired and respected MacDonald the most for his running streak, which he had on the door of his office as the longest local running streak – May 24, 1992 to July 19, 2008 – 5,909 days. That ended when he was hospitalized, but as soon as he returned he started another one that stands at 2,107 days.
The final inductee was MacLennan. He ran his first marathon at the Johnny Miles in 1989, where he found his passion that took him to marathons in Ottawa, Oklahoma, Maine and Boston.
He won the first Bluenose Marathon in Halifax and followed with three more wins. He marked his 50th marathon with a record-breaking ninth Johnny Miles victory. MacLennan not only supports local runs, but also shares his knowledge of running by coaching kids in track.
Prior to the inductions the annual Johnny Miles awards were announced.
The first award of the night was the Verna Van Bommel Community Volunteer Award, which is presented to someone who has the same commitment to volunteering that Verna had.
This year’s recipient was Pat Carty. One of the driving forces behind the Pioneer Coal Track in Stellarton, Carty maintained his vision for the facility over six years of meetings and fundraising. He is the Pictou County Athletics head coach and has coached many athletes from Pictou County over the years – thanks to his persistence in the creation of the facility many more will benefit in years to come.
There were two recipients for the Danny MacLeod Inspirational Award, Lloyd MacLean and Jeannie MacDonald.
MacLean took part in Craig Gives Back cross-Canada bike tour last year, an 85-day, 8,500km trip from Newfoundland to Victoria with Bob MacDonald and Craig Aucoin. This was Aucoin’s vision and MacDonald provided a back up when Aucoin was injured early in the tour, but it was MacLean who was the architect and planner behind the trip. He helped bring the vision to life.
MacDonald, the second recipient, is a valuable volunteer in the community. She works with the Museum of Industry, New Glasgow Regional Library, VON, Pictou County YMCA and has helped with the Johnny Miles for numerous years. She stays fit by walking to and from the YMCA daily, but also joined a Learn to Run program this year. She ran her first 5k on Mother’s Day, the Miss Miles, and will be running another 5k this Sunday in the Johnny Miles.
The final annual award of the night, the Johnny Miles Williston Character Award, was presented to MacLennan. The award is presented annually to an individual who brings the same passion and dedication to the event that Dr. Johnny Williston brought to the event for 30 years until his passing in 2005.
Last night’s awards night was the official kickoff of the Johnny Miles Running Event weekend, which continues on Saturday and Sunday. The full marathon starts at 8 a.m. on Sunday, while the other events start at 9 a.m.