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Lynne Bermel
Lynne Bermel's Column

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June 6, 2000

Ottawa Nice Guys Win Cabot Trail Relay

This week's column focuses on some of Ottawa's Nice Guys. A fitting title for a dozen of the capital's runners who took on the dark side (Halifax's Athletic West) and came out on top at this year's Cabot Trail Relay. They beat the Haligonians who've won the 17-stage "Tour de France" style race around the scenic Cabot Trail for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, they beat 'em by a whopping 35 minutes. The Nice Guys missed the course record by just over 2 minutes.

Manny Rodrigues, coach and recruiter for the "Guys" decided back in 1999 that he was going to shake things up for the boys from the east for the millennium relay. He felt they were getting a little too used to winning the race and had started to think they had it in the bag. "We put together what we thought was a fairly competitive team in 1999," said Manny, "but they still beat us." " They told our Manny: " Gee Ottawa, you send six teams here to the Relay. How come you never win? We're getting tired of having it so easy." (Or words to that effect). Them was fightin words for Manny. He made up his mind then and there that Ottawa was going to send a winning team in 2000.

Manny sent us his account of how the race played out. In his own words, Manny Rodrigues…(drum roll please)
Ottawa Nice Boy Peter VanWesenbeeck (or VanHandsome as was announced when he crossed the line) hits full stride during his leg

This is being sent with a definite "Ottawa Nice Guys" slant. Its my view of what happened and how things went (and as I was mostly servicing the Nice Guys, thus the lack of race info of others). It does contain results of all the runners on the 4 teams that we organized : Ottawa Nice Guys (ONG), National Capital Punishment(NCP), Ice Girls (ICE) and the Hash House Harriers -aka (HHH).

Note: For each leg, I list the km run and the difficulty assigned. For those that haven't done it before, running along the Gatineau parkway from Asticou, up & over Pinks lake and then back (for about an 18k run) would probably only rate about a 3.5 out of 5.

Cabot Trail relay race summary:
Pre-able: Initial scouting (by the Ottawa military team - "Third Year Running") had provided with me information about our rivals, Athletics East. They had a strong team, with their slowest runner being a 46yr old who could do a 36:30 10k. Given our creditials, this meant that we were in for a competitive race. We had 4 runners who'd run 36:xx at the Nordion 10k. Also, the military guys had mentioned that there was an Ottawa coming to challenge - so we didn't have any suprise element.
Ottawa Ice Girls and friends, including captain Patty Anderson (with umbrella) cheer on "Da Boys'

Leg1- 17km (3.5 rating): 7:00 am rolled around quickly, especially for some of us who had been at the caliegh the night before :) . Conditions were great (sunny and a bit cool) and the racing was too. Kevin Shoom was our lead off. Coming off an injury during winter, he wasn't in his tip-top shape and I was anxious to see whether his hill strength was as good. Kevin went out with the leaders and by the time we caught up to him a few km in, the lead pack was down to 2 - Kevin and a runner from team #5 - Athletics East! Kevin lead but the other guy didn't seem that uncomfortable hanging on. But then a bit after halfway, Kevin surged away. By the end, the surge developed into a 22second lead. We had made ourselves heard.

Ward Cleaver - Kevin (ONG): 1:01:17
Athletics East: 1:01:39
Chris Jermyn (NCP): 1:08:26
Iceis - Kathleen McDaniels (Ice Girls): 1:32:21
Daniel Labonte (HHH): 1:17:29

Leg2 - 18.82k (3.5 rating): Anxious wouldn't adequately describe my feeling at the beginning of this leg. Geoff MacGillivray was our runner. He had come down from Ottawa but stopped in Antigonish to visit his parents. So, he didn't arrive at the race until Leg 2 (I was hoping to see him at Leg 1). Add to this, I didn't know what he looked like .. and nobody else seemed to either. I was walking around aimlessly, searching. But he showed .. and showed well! While he wasn't able to hang on to the leader, he was able maintain contact enough to be only 34 seconds behind. The bonus was that the leader was from a Fredericton team. Athletics East runner had gone out strong but had faded in the later stages. Some strong running by George Ried (Bytown Penguins .. another Ottawa team) pushed the AE runner into 4th place by the end.

Geoff MacGillivary (ONG): 1:09:52 (total:2:11:09)
George Ried: 1:11:28
Athletics East:1:12:11 (total: 2:13:50)
Dick Murray (NCP): 1:53:52 (total: 3:02:18)
Ice Flow - Sue Szabo (Ice Girls): 1:34:00 (total: 3:06:21)
Jim Steeves (HHH): 1:58:52 (total: 3:16:21)

Leg3 - 12.56km (2 rating): Gord Cockell was on this leg. He was going to be our first test of our "weaker" runners. Up against him was Steve Morley - the coach & captain of Athletics East. Story was that Steve was supposed to originally run leg 1 but due to some back pain, he switched to a shorter leg. Not much encouragement for me because without any big hills in leg 3, it most likely wouldn't slow him down. Gord had his work cut out for him to minimize the damage. Gord went out strong and managed keep Steve within eyeshot. The end result being that he was only 49 seconds behind him and we still maintained about a 2min lead. This was a fantastic run by Gord because last year, Steve had made over 6mins on Gord (in leg 1).
Ice Girl Jean Mullen (as in Thelma and Louise) is decked out during a break between legs

In the women's race, Paradice (aka Kelly Knowles) managed to walk away with victory with a very strong run. She beat the next woman by 4:34. I'm not sure how hard she pushed herself but the fact that she had another leg in the morning must have been in her mind.

Gord Cockell (ONG): 47:02 (total: 2:58:11)
Athletics East: 46:13 (total: 3:00:03)
Ariane Burke (NCP): 1:06:14 (total: 4:08:32)
Paradice - Kelly Knowles (Ice Girls): 52:30 (total: 3:58:51)
Angela Romany (HHH): 1:23:11 (total: 4:39:32)
In the all-female team race, "A League of their Own" already had a gap on the Ice Girls as their total time after this leg was 3:52:49.

Leg4 - 20km (smokey mntn. 5 rating): Taking to heart the advice of Kevin and Jason (who had previously this monstrousity before), Peter VanWesenbeeck probably ran one of the smartest races of relay. When we caught up with him about 5km in, Peter was situated in 3rd place. There was a substantial gap between the leader, the second runner and then a smaller gap to Peter. The encouraging part for me was that the Athletics East was still behind Peter. So, after supporting our other teams, we headed up to see what was transpiring at the front. Smokey, for those unaware, rises about 700ft in about 2.1km -- its STEEP! The leaders were already going up when we got there. Going up, we finally caught up with Peter. He had closed the gap on the second place and was right behind him. As we passed him (about 800m up the hill), he gave us a big smile and pump of the arm...I knew the guy ahead of him was toast. So, we drove up to the top to wait for him. Soon, the lead vehicle drove by..Peter was the first to crest and he had a lead! Although looking tired (it was about 9km into the 20km), he looked better than the runners that followed. The AE runner was a ways back. Peter managed to maintain (and maybe increase?) his lead. He finished first, with a 1:38 lead of the next runner. The AE runner finished in 6th and 7mins behind.

Peter VanWesenbeeck (or VanHandsome as was announced when he crossed the line) (ONG):1:15:33 (total: 4:13:44)
Athletics East: 1:22:32 (total: 4:22:35)
Donald Watson (NCP): 1:42:12 (total: 5:50:44)
Orangina Ice - Gina Rifa (Ice Girls): 1:39:47 (total: 5:38:38)
Steve Bellingham (HHH): 1:39:47 (total:6;19:19)

Leg5 - 17km (rating 3.5): Anxiety time again. We had 6 runners that couldn't show up on Friday, so they were showing up on Saturday. I'd found Geoff in time, I'd seen Matt Raizenne (with others in his car .. so that covered of Matt, Eric & Greg that were coming in from Antigonish). But for Leg 5, Michel Boudreau was supposed to be running. He was driving in that day from Moncton with Yves Gagnon (because Michel only had Saturday off work). I couldn't find either of them. I was asked what my contingency plan was if they didn't show.. I didn't have one. After some a while, Yves finally found me and told me that Michel was off warming up. I could finally relax. All my runners had showed! This leg turned out to be a great race. The AE runner was Peter Beasley, who had run a 33:03 at Nordion a couple of weeks before. So, Michel had his work cut out for him. Michel led first but then reliquinished the position less than 1/2 way in. Content to follow, he just stuck in behind Peter. Michel waited patiently until about 1.5km and then surged. The surge proved decisive and he went on to win by 31 seconds. The race had been very fast and Michel ended up breaking the course record by 40 secs (with Peter B. also under the old standard by 9 secs).

The proved to be record breaking stage. Matt's friend from Antigonish, Lavina Gough, ran a phenomenal race to finish in 1:08:37 - 5mins under the old record!

Michel Boudreau (ONG): 57:40 (total 5:11:24)
Athletics East: 58:11 (total 5:20:46)
Peter Rabbitt - steve roberts (NCP): 1:13:12 (total: 7:03:56)
Sacrifice - Lucie Carrierre (Ice Girls): 1:32:33 (total: 7:11:11)
Reuben Hoffman (HHH): 1:25:56 (total: 7:45:15)

Leg6 - 18k (4.5 rating): Yves Gagnon of Moncton was up for us. Michel had mentioned our team to him when he went back to Moncton in April. Yves had then contacted me. He seemed quite anxious to be part of any team that would take on Athletics East. We had a spot and I wasn't about to turn down a 32min 10ker! So, I was rather curious to see how good he was. He certainly didn't disappoint. Taking the lead early, he managed to pull away shortly after 1/2 way and then flew in with over a minute lead on the next runner. The AE runner wasn't as strong, as he managed a 5th place .. over 5.5mins behind Yves. A very strong legs 4,5 & 6 had developed our lead to almost 15min.

Yves Gagnon (ONG): 1:02:33 (total: 6:13:47)
Athletics East: 1:07:57 (total: 6:28:43)
Donald St-Jean (NCP): 1:16:36 (total: 8:20:43)
IceCap - Rachel Talbot (Ice Girls): 1:13:35 (total 8:42:46)
Dwayne Botchar (HHH): 1:35:37 (total: 9:20:52)
Jason Goveas

Leg7 - 13.1k (3 rating): Jason Goveas was our runner up. Unfortunately, I don't remember too much of Jason's run, as I was getting ready for my run. He wasn't able to keep up to the leader, who would win by over 2mins but he was able to hold on to second by 3 secs. The AE runner would finish fourth -- a distant 4:17 behind Jason. Our lead had grown greatly but we still had 10stages to run.

Decked out in a very slinky and orange outfit, Ice T (aka Kelsey) would become the second Ice Girl to win her stage. Kelsey beat the next female by 1:48.

Dark Side of the Moon- Jason Goveas (ONG): 49:52 (total: 7:03:39)
Athletics East: 54:05 (total: 7:22:48)
Patsy Power (NCP): 1:11:52 (total: 9:32:24)
Ice-T - Kelsey (Ice Girls): 58:22 (total: 9:41:08)
Moon Beam - ? (HHH): 1:13:57 (total: 10:34:49)

Leg8 - 12.36k (2.5 rating): Glenn Robinson was running for Nice Guys, I was up for the NCP and I recognized the AE runner. I'd run and lost to him previously when I was in good shape. So, I wasn't too sure how Glenn would fair. While my body wasn't up to letting me keep up with the Glenn & Brian (the AE runner), it would let me watch most of the race unfold. Glenn went out really well and stuck behind Brian going uphill (about 3km worth). Then there was a long downhill. By the time, I got back into view of them, it appeared that Brian had made a gap and it was growing slowly. The gap grew somewhat but Glenn was able to rally and minimize the time to only 57sec! Our lead was definitely intact and we had some of our stronger runners coming up to "bat".

Min-E-mi - Glenn Robinson (ONG): 45:21 (total: 7:49:00)
Athletics East: 44:24 (total: 8:07:12)
Manny Rodrigues (NCP): 47:46 (total: 10:20:10)
Ginger Ice - ?Jean? (Ice Girls): 1:06:26 (total: 10:47:34)
Sharon Craig (HHH): 1:22:52 (total: 11:57:41)

Leg9 - 17.8k (5 rating): One hell of a leg - it climbs higher than smokey and comes down a whole lot steeper. Berry deBruijn was up for us but there was some really tall, skinny runner that looked very smooth warming up. As his number wasn't showing, I asked (had to find out!). Turns out he was running for team#39 and therefore not my concern. That proved to be a good thing. Berry started up the fairly conservatively and this guy had already taken off. By the first small rise, the two of them had seperated from the rest of the pack. The only thing that would change over the rest of the race was the gap. Our van was late leaving the stage and didn't catch Berry till he was heading down again (about 7-8k in). He had a huge lead on the next runner but the lead vehicle wasn't in sight. Turns out #39 was even further ahead. At the bottom of the hill (about 11-12km in), #39 had a 3 min lead on Berry. Berry in turn had about a 2-3 min lead on the next runner, with the AE runner even further back. At the end, #39 would run a new course record by about 2mins. I would later learn that this was Fraser Burtram, a 30min 10ker from Toronto (I believe). Berry finished 4:49 behind Fraser and 6:58 ahead of third place. The AE runner was in 5th, 8:08 behind Berry.

Steve ran a very strong leg, especially because he'd run leg 5 only hours before and was weighed down by bunny ears for both gruelling runs.

Dweezil Manilow - Berry DeBruijn (ONG): 1:06:40 (total: 8:55:40)
Athletics East: 1:14:48 (total: 9:22:00)
Bugs Bunny - Steve Roberts (NCP): 1:22:40 (total: 11:42:50)
Ice Sickle - ? (Ice Girls): 1:24:53 (total: 12:12:27)
Karen Cheng (HHH): 1:44:54 (total: 13:42:35)

Leg10 - 14.7k (5 rating): The all uphill leg. Patrick MacKenzie was up for ONG, Simon Good for the NCP, Patti Anderson for the Ice Girls and Chris Corner for HHH. Unfortunately, ordering food made me miss most of the race up front. I got to cheer some at the top of the hill (about 12k in) but by then, Patrick was well secured in second place. He would finish that way but luckily the lead runner was from the Zebra Muscles not AE. AE would finish in 4th place and 1:26 behind Patrick. Simon ran a very strong leg to finish in 14th place, Chris was 2 mins behind in 18th and Patti was 3rd female in 36th spot.

Patrick MacKickingButt (ONG): 1:00:04 (total: 9:55:44)
Athletics East: 1:01:30 (total: 10:23:30)
Simon Good (NCP): 1:05:37 (total: 12:48:27)
Ice Whine - Patti (Ice Girls): 1:16:22 (total: 13:28:49)
Chris Corner (HHH): 1:07:24 (total: 14:49:59)

Leg11 - 14k (3.5 rating): The downhill leg. Eric Gilles, a friend that Matt recruited, was on board. I'd heard he was fast and had given him this leg, sort of on his request. He'd asked for a leg that 40-50mins long. The course record, set last year by an amazing 5 min improvement, was 47mins. So, it would up to Eric to make the leg meet his requirements. He didn't disappoint. He flew down the mountain and looked rather fresh at the end. The result was another first place and a 4:35 lead on the AE runner (a 4:30 lead on the second place runner!).

Of note in this leg was Kent's performance. Kent also tackled the downhill run very well. He ended up finishing 7th overall and only 4.5mins behind second place. But his rapid descent did cause some concern because poor Peter V. and Vivian had to run down the hill to actually moon him in the light of the vans.

Aside for the St.FX boys: thx to his black eye and young looks, Eric got affectionally nicknamed "Scrappy-Do" by some of the Ice Girls.

Eric Gilles (ONG): 49:07 (total: 10:44:51)
Athletics East: 53:42 (total: 11:17:12)
Paul Sweezie (NCP): 59:12 (total: 13:47:39)
Kathy Donald (Ice Girls): 1:11:26 (total: 14:40:15)
Kent Woodhall (HHH): 58:04 (total: 15:48:03)

*** run out of time.. would love to have continued the descriptions because there were some great races but time isn't permitting and probably won't be for the next week and a half. So, here's the results only ***

Leg12 -
Greg MacDonald (ONG): 56:46 (total: 11:41:37) - 2nd overall
AE: 54:53 (total: 12:12:05)
Danger Ice Falling - ? (Ice girls):1:14:09
Shawn Halpin (NCP): 1:30:55
Bill Horne (HHH): 1:23:12

Leg 13 -
Uwe Stickel (ONG): 1:00:48 (total: 12:42:25) - 3rd overall
AE: 59:55 (total: 13:12:00)
Chick Slovit - Daniel Labonte (HHH): 1:17:53
Karen Laushway (NCP): 1:22:25
Ice Pack - ? (Ice girls): 1:24:08

Leg 14-
Matt Raisin (ONG): 1:10:22 (total 13:52:47) - tied for first with Scott O'Connor
AE: 1:17:30 (total: 14:29:30)
Steve Ferguson (NCP): 1:23:07
John Welsh (HHH): 1:31:10
Black Ice - Jennifer Decker (Ice girls): 1:47:12

Leg 15-
Ken MacLeod (ONG): 59:24 (total: 14:52:11) - 1st overall
AE: 1:03:42 (total: 15:33:12)
Paradice - Kelly Knowles (Ice girls): 1:05:44 - **1st woman & New CR by about 4 mins**
Sarah Buyers (HHH): 1:29:49
Edwin Bos (NCP): 1:29:25

Leg 16-
Andy Jones (ONG): 59:13 (total: 15:51:24) - 1st overall
AE: 59:45 (total: 16:32:57)
Chris Jermyn (NCP): 1:04:54
Ice Cream - ? (Ice Girls): 1:22:25
Amy Woodward (HHH): 1:38:01

Harry Welten (ONG): 1:06:17 (total: 16:57:41)
AE: 58:23 (total: 17:31:20)
Ice Queen - Vivian Welch (Ice girls): 1:18:39
"Twin Peaks" Erin Rutherford (HHH): 1:26:19
Edvard Burman (NCP): 1:36:54

Final placings & totals:
1. ONG - 16:57:41 (no, I haven't heard back from the organizers but they seem to remember another sub 17hr performance .. not sure how sub-17).
2. AE - 17:31:20
3. Maine-iacs - 18:55:36
4. 3 Royal Irish - 18:55:59
6. Third Year Running (ottawa military team) - 19:24:09
9. Bytown Penguins(ottawa team) - 20:47:43
15. League of Their Own (TOP WOMEN'S TEAM): 21:47:33
22. NCP - 22:15:19
27. Ottawa Rainbow Trumpets - 22:30:47
32. Ottawa Ice Girls - 22:52:32
50. Ottawa Hash House Harriers - 24:34:27

total number of teams: 57

Contact Lynne via email @

For more on Lynne's background read this interview with Wayne Scanlan which appeared originally in the Ottawa Citizen.

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