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Hawboldt/Lays Road Race a Labour Day tradition


Fred Lays, Sr. with friend Anna Dalby (Alecce), centre, and his wife Cheryl Lays at a marathon in Kentville, a year or so before he passed away. Submitted photo

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WESTVILLE - They were runners from different generations, but the names of Jimmy Hawboldt and Fred Lays Sr. are front and centre every Labour Day in Westville.
The Jimmy Hawboldt/Fred Lays, Sr. Memorial Road Race will be held on Labour Day again this year.
Since 1976, Hawboldt's career as a runner has been celebrated in Westville on Labour Day. In his prime, he was considered Nova Scotia's finest five-miler, said Susan Oliver of Westville Recreation.
Until he passed away in 1998, he attended the celebrations and shared stories about his numerous races.
Hawboldt had several duels with legendary marathoner Johnny Miles. They raced six times - each winning three - and were close friends. Hawboldt was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
For many years, the Labour Day race was organized by well-known local runner Fred Lays, Sr., an accomplished runner who ran in the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996, and placed second in an Iron Man competition in Montreal in 1999.
Lays was 57 when he passed away in 2002 after a long battle with cancer.
"He was a source of support and inspiration to many runners, especially in Pictou County," said Oliver.
"Fred's leadership abilities, enthusiasm for the sport of running, and love of the community enabled him to successfully organize many local races and become president of the Pictou County Road Runners Club. His success and enthusiasm in the sport of running will be admired for many years to come."
A special Inspiration award will be presented to a runner by Fred's widow, Cheryl Lays.
She said that having her late husband's name to attached to the event was "one of the greatest honours anyone could do for Fred. It wasn't about winning with Fred - he wanted to run the race and fight the fight, whether it was his running or his cancer."
In conjunction with the Labour Day race race, there will also be a Fun Run at the Victoria Park for children. Events will include 50, 80, 100, 200, and 800 metre races.
Prizes will be awarded. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. at the park. Registration for the one and five-mile races starts at 9 a.m. at town hall.

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