Curt Pollard of Lord Dorchester High Schools stands with Run to the Fair Race Director Steve Ryall beside some new equipment for the school's fitness room.  The equipment was purchased just after the first annual event to raise funds for the LDSS.

Excitement builds for first Run to the Fair


by Wendy Spence



            This Sunday, people of all ages and abilities will be able to take part in the first Run to the Fair, starting just east of the Dorchester Fairgrounds. Dorchester resident and race director Steve Ryall is excited to bring a race of this magnitude to the village where he lives.

            He says, "Everyone is welcome to line the course to cheer on their family, friends, neighbours and fellow citizens."

            People can run or walk the 5K route. Cycling and in-line skating are not permitted. Ryall calls it the fastest 5K because the route covers very flat terrain. Darla Stratton of Dorchester is ready to help kick off the event by singing the national anthem at the start line and MC Perry Esler will be on the 34-foot stage at the finish line. He'll be able to welcome the racers as they cross by name, because the bibs of those who register online will include their first name. Online registration closes tomorrow at 6 p.m. and following that there will be no registration until Sunday morning.

            Registration starts at 7 a.m. In the tent located at the east parking lot of the fairgrounds, right beside the start line. Participants are asked to bring their completed registration forms to speed up the process. They can pick up their race bag and bib there as well. Younger racers who are taking part in the kids' races can enter right up to 9:45 a.m. at the fairgrounds, beside the 5K finish line. Finishers will receive medals and the kids get special cowbell medallions.

            Residents should be aware that Hamilton Road is to be closed from 8 to 10 a.m. from just east of the fairgrounds to Calvert Place (McFarlan Rowlands). During that time there will be no access of any kind and drivers are asked to use alternate routes to access Hamilton Road. People who live on Valleyview Crescent and those who access Hamilton Road from Thames Crescent and Calvert Place will need to make alternate arrangements if they need to travel that morning.

            Information and registration forms are available online at, where confirmed runners can check for information, maps, etc. before race day.

            More than 177 runners were registered at press time for the fundraiser to support sports enhancements at LDSS, along with some local organizations that were taking advantage of the partners program. Ryall hopes many more will sign up by race day.


supplied photo

Some of the Run to the Fair participants and volunteers in the LDSS gym in no particular order, Megan Dunn, Kali Dayman, Lydia Heuving, Katelyn Rieger, Victoria Ross, Shelby McLean, Michelle Lefave, Dana Earheart, Britany Tingley, Mac Grenier,

Katie McGinnes, Jordyn Scott, Darby Martin, Alex Cook, Rachel Jans, Cole Granger, Connor Kreiger, Zac Earheart,Andrew Brooks, Patrick Garrie, Will Rickwood

Brett Brulotte, David Cromarty and several of the staff members at Lord Dorchester.



Revved up and ready to run


by Wendy Spence



            Community groups and the Dorchester Co-op Nursery School are taking advantage of a chance to do some fundraising as part of the upcoming Run to the Fair event on Thanksgiving weekend. The nursery school has signed up for the partners program and will also be running the kids' races. Proceeds from Run to the Fair will used to buy equipment for the sports room at Lord Dorchester. As an added bonus, local groups that join the partners program can raise money for their organization. It's a fundraiser within a fundraiser.

            Andrea Brady, president of the nursery school, says they got involved to help add an element of old-fashioned fun to the event that begins and ends at the Dorchester Fairgrounds during the annual fair. "The kids' races are old school fun runs that kids of all ages will enjoy - like potato sack races, three- legged races and crab walks." Brady says they hope to have between 25 and 50 kids sign up.

            Dorchester Co-op Nursery School is a non-profit nursery school that relies heavily on fundraising. Brady explains, "We are trying to raise enough money to buy outdoor play equipment for our new yard." The school recently moved to a new location at the FlightExec Centre.

            "Physical activity is very important for kids, as is having fun with other children in their community," says the school president. "The fall fair is always an excellent community event for all ages. We are proud to be part of the festivities."

            Greg Van Berkel, vice-president of the Dorchester Minor Hockey Association (DMHA) says the run provides an opportunity to have their players and families involved in an outdoor activity and raise some needed funds for the DMHA. "Those things made the decision to partner with the run an easy one. We encourage our players and their families, and any fans of local hockey, to register for the run and support its cause as well as the DMHA.

            The group hopes to use any funds raised to pay for ice time for their teams and programs.

            Van Berkel says, "Run to the Fair not only helps raise funds for LDSS, but allows its partners and their supporters to also raise funds for their individual causes."

            LDSS athletic director Curt Pollard says, "Run to the Fair is a good fit for our athletic department's goal of encouraging healthy active living both in school and in the community. We have been involved in past Dorchester runs as a fundraiser, so when Steve [Ryall, race director] approached us about being involved, we wanted to continue that tradition."

            Including volunteers and participants, Lord Dorchester will have over 50 people participating to raise enough money to purchase a treadmill for the school weight room.

            Dorchester Ringette and the London Devilettes are also taking part in the partners program.

            Any community group, such as a sports team, the legion, churches or Scouts can raise money through the program. They will get a web page when they register. Participants can promote their group online and take part on behalf of the organization.

            Run to the Fair is a 5K race scheduled for Sunday, October 13, starting at 8:15 a.m., east of the east parking lot of the fairgrounds.        

            For more information on the event and partners program, visit


Signpost photo by Wendy Spence

Run to the Fair race director Steve Ryall, Dorchester Co-op Nursery School teachers Carissa McNeill (left) and Jennifer Nuyens surround the banner for the event while a couple of children practise the crab walk at the school in the FlightExec Centre. The group is excited about the kids' races they will be running as part of the first 5K run in conjunction with the Dorchester Fair. The event is scheduled for Sunday, October 13 at 8:15 a.m.

Get ready to 'Run to the Fair'


by Wendy Spence


            Local runner, Event Manager and Race Director of the Forest City Road Races, Dallas Marathon and more, Steve Ryall has planned a local sprint on the Thanksgiving and Dorchester Fair weekend called Run to the Fair. Since the Donnybrook Dash was cancelled last year, he thought it would be a good idea to create an event for the legions of local runners. Ryall launched the race at the Canada Day celebrations on Monday at the FlightExec Centre.

            Run to the Fair is scheduled for Sunday, October 13, starting at 8:15 a.m., east of the east parking lot of the fairgrounds. Members of the running community will be happy to know that it is a certified course, so if people run a personal best, it will be official.

            "This should be a fast race," Ryall says. The participants in the 5K race will start at the east parking lot of the Dorchester Fairgrounds. The course will head west down Hamilton road, right on Calvert Road, left through the McFarlan Rowlands Insurance Brokers (the major sponsor of the event) parking lot and back east down Hamilton Road to the west entrance of the fairgrounds. The finish line is about 300 metres from the entrance on the fairgrounds. Ryall calls the course fast and flat.

            "This race isn't necessarily about who's the fastest or about competing, it's about participating," Ryall explains. People who sign up don't need to run if they'd rather not, they can even walk as everyone has 90 minutes to cross the finish line. Ryall, who lives in Dorchester with his family, said they enjoy the annual event.

            "I love the fair."

            He that between 400 and 500 people sign up for the race and also that they stay afterward to enjoy the Dorchester Fair.

            The proceeds will benefit the sports equipment room at Lord Dorchester and the local high school will provide the majority of volunteers for the event.

            Any community group, such as a sports team, the legion, churches or Scouts can raise money through the partners program. They will get a web page when they register. Participants can promote their group online and take part on behalf of the organization. Ryall would like to see a number of kids running, getting healthy and doing something for their sport. "I know how much these charities and the high school need the money." He sees it as a way of paying it forward, for other youth. Ryall's own children will also be attending Lord Dorchester in the future.

            He says that so far he's had great community feedback. Local businesses can sign up as sponsors. They will receive banners that will be displayed at the event that they can keep to use for future promotions. 

            For more information, go to:


Signpost photo by Wendy Spence

Steve Ryall in his booth at the FlightExec Centre on Canada Day to publicize Run to the Fair.