Memorial Cup, bridge repairs to cause major Blue Nose Marathon shakeup

Click to play video: 'Bluenose Marathon embarking on big changes in 2019' Bluenose Marathon embarking on big changes in 2019
The 16th edition of the Blue Nose Marathon will be one like no other before as both the route and the weekend it's typically run are being changed. Jeremy Keefe reports – Feb 7, 2019

Despite a number of significant changes to one of Halifax’s most anticipated footraces, organizers say they remain optimistic the event will continue to be a success.

For the first time in its 16-year history, the Blue Nose Marathon will take place in June instead of over the Victoria Day weekend due to a scheduling conflict with the Memorial Cup. On top of that, repairs on the MacKay Bridge will keep the race restricted to Halifax.

Blue Nose Marathon executive director Sherri Robbins says they’re taking it in stride.

“We have been without the bridge before, so it’s familiar territory,” said Robbins. “The experience is really what we’re focused on, so when we look at the routes … it’s ‘how can we continue to showcase our great city and provide fantastic routes and a great event overall?”

READ MORE: Macdonald Bridge closures resume Tuesday as ‘Big Lift’ project continues

The Big Lift project also changed organizers’ plans in 2016 and 2017, keeping runners on the Halifax side only. Last year, Blue Nosers went back to their harbour-hopping ways.

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But Halifax Harbour Bridges says repairing the MacKay Bridge has become a main priority. Two of the bridge’s four lanes will close most weekends from spring to fall, as upgrades to asphalt, waterproofing and expansion joints are required.

“The MacKay is 49 years old this year, and so we’re up there doing some work,” said Alison MacDonald, spokesperson for Halifax Harbour Bridges.

“The redecking project got going in 2015, the Big Lift, so it’s been a few years since we’ve done any work up (on the MacKay).”

WATCH: Bluenose Marathon organizers

Click to play video: 'Bluenose Marathon Organizers' Bluenose Marathon Organizers
Bluenose Marathon Organizers – Feb 7, 2019

Still, whether it’s 2020 or later, including both sides of the bridge is something Blue Nose organizers feel strongly about.

“As soon as the bridge is available to us, we’ll be back in Dartmouth, and that’s part of celebrating what Halifax is all about,” said Blue Nose race director Geri Wallace. Dartmouth has some beautiful lakes which … some of our runners really enjoy, so we’ll definitely be back.”

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READ MORE: ‘I got a second chance’: N.S. woman takes on Blue Nose 5K 4 months after heart transplant

The Blue Nose Marathon will take place from June 6 to 9.

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