Organizers Ria and Sean Dixon hosted the third annual Beans and Bangers Resolution Fun Run and Walk at the Chief and Churchill private pub in Blomidon on Jan. 1. Participants choose from a scenic 5 km, 7 km or 10 km run or walk, followed by a feed of hot ‘beans and bangers’: perhaps better known in Nova Scotia as baked beans and sausages.
Cori Lucas of Halifax took part in her first Beans and Bangers run, not to mention her first ‘polar bear dip’ in the frigid waters of the Minas Basin. Her friend Anne Ritter and a few other brave souls joined her.
Although it was cold, Lucas said it was “totally worth it.” She said this would probably be the highlight of the event for her.
“It was a bit of a hike to the water line, so that helped warm us up on the way back for sure. It was almost a kilometer out to the water,” Lucas said.
She was looking forward to the 5 km run, getting to meet new people and experiencing something different. Lucas said she was happy to help support a charitable cause: putting stationary ‘SparkBrainBikes’ in classrooms through Run For Life’s Sparks Fly program.
“What better way to bring in the New Year?” Lucas said.
About 85 people took part in the event. Organizer Sean Dixon said it’s all about giving back and encouraging a sense of community while helping to promote healthy, active lifestyles.
He said it’s amazing that people from as far away as Halifax and the South Shore get up early on New Year’s Day to drive to the Valley to participate. The rain, which lightened up just as the run began, added a little more challenge or adversity. Dixon said he hoped people took away a sense of getting the year off to a great start.
This year’s participation medals were actually homemade cookies on ribbons. Dixon said the hard work of his wife, mother-in-law, neighbour and other volunteers made this possible.
“I’m sure it would be easier to just go online and buy a bunch of medals but these are delicious and just something neat,” Dixon said.
Dixon and several other volunteers prepared the beans while Makayla Grover volunteered as kitchen manager. Dixon said they’re thankful to Run Nova Scotia for helping to promote the event.
Sparks Fly program founder Luke MacDonald of Dartmouth said he challenged Dixon last year to raise $500 for the program. After Dixon accomplished this, MacDonald, a Rotarian, set his mind to parlaying the donation into $10,000.
MacDonald was invited to give a presentation about the Sparks Fly program to the New Minas Sunrise Rotary Club. Valley Rotary clubs ended up donating $4,500 to the cause, bringing the tally to $5,000. This was matched by the provincial Department of Education, reaching MacDonald’s $10,000 goal. Run For Life threw in a couple extra bikes too, resulting in 16 of the units being donated to Valley classrooms to date. There are about 2,300 in schools across Canada.
The silent, stationary bikes are about physical activity and self-regulation in the classroom. MacDonald said if a child feels upset or is having trouble concentrating, he or she could jump on a stationary bike and spin for a while. This has a natural calming effect, leading to fewer disruptions, and the student doesn’t have to leave the learning environment.
A new Sparks Fly concept
Sparks Fly program founder Luke MacDonald is unveiling a new concept that he hopes will help people in Kenya by saving them from having to carry water.
He hoped to set a new world record at Beans and Bangers by doing something that has never been done before: completing a 5 km run while pushing a water barrel with a handle that turns like a wheel.
“In Kenya, sometimes up to 50 per cent of the matriarch’s day is spent lugging water,” MacDonald said. “What if only five or 10 per cent was spent lugging water?”
He said the plan is to raise funds here to provide push barrels at no cost to women in Kenya. MacDonald said this could help reduce anxiety and help young people concentrate on studies rather than worrying about their mother out carrying water.
One way MacDonald plans to raise funds is by challenge people to donate $60 – the cost of a barrel – to take a shot at his world record.