‘ Dashing through the snow’

Jamie Heap
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Amherst Striders running club members brave the elements for third annual Santa Strider Trot; Valentine’s Run set for February 15, 2014

AMHERST-While there weren’t any one-horse open sleigh sightings Saturday morning, 25 members of the Amherst Striders running club took to the streets of downtown Amherst for the third annual Santa Strider Trot.

For over two years, the Amherst Striders running club, a group that consists of varying ability levels, have met three times per at the downtown Tim Hortons: Mondays and Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm and again on Saturday morning at 8:00 am. Saturday was no different as 25 runners from ages 10 to 65 ran, walked and trotted through the streets in rain/freezing rain.

 “We have about 60 core runners that come once a week,” stated runner Kevin Soehner. “Some people start at 6:00 am or 7:00 am before looping back here for 8:00 am to join the others. Rick (McKenney) is trying to run a half marathon (21.2 km) every weekend. This is his 45th straight weekend.”

According to Rick’s wife Rachna Minocha, a fellow dentist and Amherst Striders running club member, he began running about three years ago at Your Fit Fitness. Two years ago, retired Canadian Armed Forces member Alan Theal, along with Ken Mackenzie and Peter Nixon, started the Striders.

 “The Striders running club started about two years ago with the goal of getting people healthy without leaving anyone behind,” said founder Alan Theal. “It’s a free running club, the best in the world because there is nothing negative posted on it (Amherst Striders Running Club Facebook Group). A lot of people read it and get motivated from a distance.”

The Amherst Striders Running Club’s Facebook group has 250 members.

In addition to running 5 km on Saturday during the third annual Santa Strider Trot, each runner, some of whom wore Santa Claus hats or white Santa beards, brought food items that will be donated to the food bank.

 As for McKenney, he is scheduled to reach his 52nd consecutive weekend of half-marathon running in conjunction with the first annual Amherst Valentine’s Run that will take place in Amherst on February 15, 2014.

“The week before, Rick will be running in the Hypothermic ½ Marathon in Moncton,” said Minocha. “For years, it was the only winter run in the area. Now, with the Valentine’s Run, a CHIP-timed run, there will be two runs.”

 “He’s such an inspiration,” said Minocha. “The Valentine’s Run, which will be sponsored by Minocha-McKenney Dental, will support schools that help us in anyway. The goal is to the support the athletic departments of Amherst area schools. Also, the funds will support a running trail here in Amherst.”

According to Minocha, a meeting regarding the logistics of the Valentine’s Run will take place on the second Tuesday of the New Year (January 14) at the EB Chandler cafeteria at 7:00 pm, just over a month before the run.

People can register online for the run or at the Minocha-McKenney Dental office in Amherst. Cash only if you choose to register at the dental office.







Organizations: Tim Hortons, Amherst Striders Running Club Facebook Group, Canadian Armed Forces Minocha-McKenney Dental

Geographic location: AMHERST, Moncton

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