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Shaw Woods hosts Melissa Bishop Thunder Run

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

NORTH ALGONA/WILBERFORCE – Shaw Woods was the scene of the inaugural Melissa Bishop Thunder Run Saturday with 140 folks coming out to raise $2,800 for minor girls hockey.

Runners competed in four separate races with distances ranging between 1.6 and 9.3 kilometres. The start line was the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre with the trails through the old growth forest providing the routes for competitors. Proceeds from the event and registration went to support the Ottawa Valley Thunder and the education centre.

While the Eganville sprinter could not attend the event in person, her mother, Alison, was on hand to lend moral support. This is the off-season for Bishop, who finished fourth in the 800-metre at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic games. She recently ran one minute 57.68 seconds to place fifth at the track and field world championships in London. In July, Bishop set a new Canadian record in the 800-metre.

“This is very special and she would have loved to have been here,” said Alison Bishop. “It's very fitting that it's right here at home. She is from Lake Dore and Shaw Woods is in her backyard.”

The Ottawa Valley Thunder is a girls hockey program for atom, pee wee, bantam and midget aged players, at both the competitive and recreational level. Bishop played on the very first Thunder team spending four years at the bantam and midget levels before dedicating her training to running. Her mother said she felt it was important to give back to the community.

“There is so much community support and the Ottawa Valley has been outstanding,” said Bishop.

For the runners it wasn't just a chance to compete for a cause but take it the beautiful scenery that the Shaw Woods has to offer. For example, the 1.6-kilometre route encompassed the Old Growth Trail, while the 3.2 kilometre took in the Pine Plantation and Great Gully Trail. The forest has been preserved to a state that makes it appear close to what the first European explorers would have seen centuries ago.

Ottawa Valley Thunder coach and event co-ordinator Chris Pleau said his teams have participated in other runs around the region so he figured it was time to have their own.

“All of our girls come out here at some point in the school year,” said Pleau. “This is a unique course.”

Pleau thanked the volunteers and the Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre for acting as host venue. He said that given the positive response he could see this becoming an annual event.

In the 9.3-kilometre run, Andrew Bryanton came in first place with a time of 38 minutes, 24 seconds, followed by Xavier Chingee, in second place, and J.P. Sauve, in third. Crossing the finish line in first place in the 4.7-kilometre was Rudy Saal with a time of 19:53. He was followed by Nick Bauernschmitt, in second place, and Matthew Unrau, in third place. Jack Egan took first place in the 3.1-kilometre in 15:15, followed by second place Mitchell Smith and third place Emily George. In the 1.6-kilometre run, Porter Carr came in first place, followed by Jamie Carr, in second, and Kate Carr, in third.

SChase@postmedia.com