Nova Scotian runners take part in marathon commemorating victims of mass shooting

Runner Jillian Arany ran the Nova Scotia Remembers Memorial Race on Sunday, while wearing cut out paper hearts bearing the names of the 22 victims of the Nova Scotia mass killings that began on April 18, 2020.

On the first anniversary of the mass killings that began in Portapique, N.S. on April 18, 2020, more than 100 Nova Scotians paid tribute to the victims by participating in the Nova Scotia Remembers Memorial Race.

A full marathon started at 7 a.m. in Portapique with 29 runners taking part. A half marathon also began in nearby Masstown — with both races ending in Truro several hours later.

Near Portapique, NS. One of the runners in the Nova Scotia Remembers and Memorial Marathon pic.twitter.com/uNHEjJJ4Cc

— Paul Hollingsworth (@paulhctv) April 18, 2021

There were also five kilometre, ten kilometre runs and a commemorative walk, all taking place as tributes for those who were lost in the tragedy.

The weather on a mid-April morning was damp, cold and raw, much like the emotions of many who ran.

Runner Jillian Arany says she knew any effort made would be appreciated by a community that is still reeling from this tragedy 12 months later.

“I have seen a post from the families who have lost people and how much they appreciate the community support,” says Arany who also wore cut out paper hearts bearing the names of those who died. “They are all the people we lost.”

Running in Portapique, NS for those who were lost pic.twitter.com/FlJXLlGkSd

— Paul Hollingsworth (@paulhctv) April 18, 2021

As Bill MacEachern prepared to run more than 42 kilometres, his thoughts were fixed on the victims, and their families.

"I lost a good friend on this day," says MacEachern. "I think it's a great way to honour them.

Joel Taylor also ran for a friend.

“I want to do this for Lisa,” said Taylor, who was friends with Lisa McCully, a school teacher who was killed last April. Taylor said a Marathon run in Lisa’s honour was a fitting tribute.

“Lisa would do this,” said Taylor. “Lisa was a person would show up and do something like this”

18-year-old Ben Good finished first in the 10 km race. He says he remembers where he was on this day a year ago, when he heard the news of the tragedy.

"I was actually out running that day," says Good, who added he feels a deep connection to the families, who still feel the pain of tragic loss, and to his home province.

The memorial runs and walk are also fundraisers, with proceeds going to support the Nova Scotia Remembers Legacy Memorial Building Fund aimed at establishing a permanent memorial for the 22 lives that were lost.