Hamilton Around The Bay Road Race registrations on pace, despite route change

Jeff Paikin was introduced as the 2020 Around The Bay Road Race fundraising champion on Monday.
Jeff Paikin was introduced as the 2020 Around The Bay Road Race fundraising champion on Monday. Ken Mann

St. Joseph’s Healthcare will be using funds raised through the 126th Around the Bay Road Race to upgrade emergency mental health services.

The Hamilton hospital system has set $475,000 as this year’s fundraising goal, noting that demand for psychiatric emergency service is at an all-time high and increasing by 10 per cent each year.

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Jeff Paikin, president of New Horizon Development Group, has been named the ATB’s 2020 community fundraising champion and along with his teammates hopes to raise $100,000 towards the needed improvements at St. Joe’s.

Paikin says that currently when people come into the hospital with mental health issues, “they’re in a general area where everybody comes in, and it’s probably not the best way to have them feel safe and secure.” He adds by helping to fund an expansion, this is a way to “make that happen.”

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The Around The Bay Road Race is the oldest, continually run road race in North America, but this year it will not include its signature 500-metre long incline up the Valley Inn Road hill.

Runners will stay on Plains Road, instead of running down Spring Gardens Road, and then up the infamous hill on March 29 because of the closure of the Valley Inn Road pedestrian bridge due to structural, safety concerns.

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ATB Race Director Anna Lewis says they are “disappointed” by the route change, which also happened due to CN Rail bridge construction in 2015 and 2016, adding that they “hope for the best” as the city studies the extent of repairs that are needed.

Lewis also insists that the removal of the best-known part of the course doesn’t seem to be hurting registration numbers.

More than 3,000 people have signed up for the 30K, so far, the relays are sold out, and she adds that registrations for the 5K are on pace.

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