The village of Five islands, home to 300 people, a church and three cemeteries, on Sunday July 22 will host over 1000 runners and onlookers for the sixth annual running of Not Since Moses, a fundraising run/walk for local schools and fire fighters.
The participants run and walk on the bottom of the sea during the summer’s lowest tide. In the Minas Basin where Five Islands is located, the tides range daily from as low as .4 meters to as high as 15 meters. On the race day, the low tide, happening one hour into the event, will be .6 meters, rising steadily during the next six hours to 14 meters.
“This is so weird” said Dick Lemon who conceived of the event while running in Five Islands at low tide in the summer of 2006. “A thousand humans share the same space with flounder and bass who arrive just hours after our group leaves”.
The event has grown from 183 registrants in 2007 to its present status as one of the premier running events in Canada. It was a feature story in Running Canada magazine in 2009 and has received coverage as distant as England when a writer for the British edition of Runners World attended the race in 2010. Runners from Kuwait, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands and the US have registered in past years. Lemon says this year an inquiry came from a known Kenyan runner who is touring North America. “But he seemed to have disappeared, maybe having some Nigerian business to do”.
An oddity of the day is that a Poetry Gathering occurs just after the run. The only requirement for participation is that the poem be written while running the course. Each poet, including in the past composers aged 8 through 72, reads her poem to the group and receives, says Lemon, loud applause “no matter what.” Every poet receives a prize.
The poetry gathering is part of the day because Lemon says there is not enough poetry in the world, “especially from those of us who know for sure we are not poets”.
In addition to the adult run, NOT SINCE MOSES includes a Basket Run giving kids under 12 a chance to run at high speed in mud. Ages from 2 (doing a 100 meter course) through 12 (doing either a 500 or 1000 meter run) receive a medal on a ribbon for their success.
Registrations for NOT SINCE MOSES are open on its website www.notsincemoses.com. Registration is limited to 1200 but as of now Lemon says openings are available.