Marathon with a conscience

By JT McVeigh, The Enterprise-Bulletin

There is probably no more passionate running ambassador than Nick Brindisi, and he when he runs he does it with a big heart.

Ever the ambassador, Brindisi loves to share the experience, so on October 1 for the fourth year he is hosting the Collingwood Half Marathon 10k in support of Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation.

The half marathon runs through downtown Collingwood and heads out towards the escarpment. Last year more than 500 runners took part.

As well as the half marathon, there is also 10k and new this year, is a 2k for children.

“It’s being run in conjunction with the Healthy Kids Community Challenge along with the YMCA and the town of Collingwood,” says Brindisi. “With this partnership we are able to offer the kids free entry so it removes any barriers that might stop a parent from bringing their child.”

Brindisi, who will proudly tell you that he has been running for 43 years, has taken running in his career to new heights. Not only as a competitor but as a coach for adults and children. In fact his program for teens who are living with depression is near and dear to his heart.

“I want kids to develop these healthy habits at an early age,” says Brindisi. “We have helped kids get off non-prescription drugs and they have replaced that drug with running, we’ve had kids who were clinically depressed get of their meds by running.”

Brindisi is a well-known ultra-marathoner has been able to fund raise for local charities in just about every pursuit he has run in. Most recently successfully finishing the grueling Sinister 7 in Alberta, where he was able to raise funds for My Friends House in Collingwood.

Adults to can benefit as well by strapping up the shoes, and this race is probably one of the most scenic of all of the half marathons in Ontario taking in both an urban and rural environment.

The biggest challenge for Brinidis now though is volunteers. He is looking at recruiting more than one hundred to help with setting up the course, water stations, bike patrols and tearing down after the race is over. Students looking for volunteer hours for school are more than welcome.

“I would love to see more community participation in this year’s run, says Brindisi. “About 85% of the runners this year are coming from out of town, I would love to see more local runners.”

With the support the run has received from the town, Brindisi can see this as becoming a big deal.

“From a tourism aspect I think that this is a fantastic thing for the town, this run I think has the potential of being huge,” says Brindisi. “Dearly, I would love to see 2,000 runners at it, but it is going to take a joint marketing effort and I give kudos to the town for the support that we have already received.”

For all information about the Collingwood Half Marathon whether it be to sign up for the run or to offer to volunteer check out the website.




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