FREETOWN – Although running is an individual sport, Steve Reeves is quick to acknowledge he could not have won last week’s 2018 Saloman Sonofa Gunofa Run in Five Islands, N.S., without his support team.
Reeves ran the 5.8-kilometre course 24 times to emerge victorious. Runners have one hour to complete the course, and then have to be back in a starting area to begin the next loop within an hour.
“It’s almost like a NASCAR event,” explained Reeves. “It’s a pit stop, refuel and a quick change of the tires, and you get everything ready to head out again.”
Although Reeves was the race winner, he pointed out how proud he was to have his 19-year-old son, Luke, running in the race as well.
“He was pretty much untrained, showed up and got seven loops done for 40.6 klilometres,” said Reeves. “It really made it special having him there encouraging me.
“Once he dropped out of the race, he helped John (Bowser) prepare stuff for the next loop. It was certainly special to have him there.”
Reeves described Bowser, who’s from Summerside, “as basically the pit crew” for himself and Luke.
“John stayed up 24 hours straight, and prepared whatever I needed for the next loop while I was out on the course, which was a huge help,” said Reeves. “He’d have all my drinks ready, ice packs ready and whatever I wanted he would have it ready.
“Actually, he ran down to the local restaurant and bought me a cheeseburger between loops, and two Tim Hortons coffees to get me through. On those long runs you need to eat some real food, and it’s important to have somebody to get that stuff for you.”
To illustrate Reeves’s dedication to running, all one has to do is look at when he trains. While most people are winding down for the day, Reeves and training partner, local potato farmer Cory Birch, are hitting the pavement.
“(Birch) works long hours too, and we tend to go later in the evening,” said Reeves. “We get the farm work done, visit with my daughter (Bella-Mae) for a little while and get her in bed, and do the training after that.”
Reeves proudly pointed out that six-year-old Bella-Mae is an up-and-coming runner as well.
“She is the next generation of trail runners,” beamed Reeves. “Her favourite trail is down at Scales Pond in Freetown. She’s a real natural, and she’ll be running with me soon enough.”