HALIFAX -- One of Canada’s most popular running relays, the Cabot Trail Relay, turned virtual over the weekend.

Usually – thousands of runners would descend on the small village of Baddeck, N.S., but this year, teams did their own thing, while raising cash for a not-for-profit.

At the finish line, it’s usually a party-like atmosphere on the Main Street of Baddeck.

"I went for a run myself on Friday, and normally on Friday afternoon, there's cars coming in, and there’s people running," said Dave Parkinson, the relay chair for the race. "But, the community is pretty empty, so it was different."

This year, the relay race is virtual. Runners can participate from anywhere in the world, without needing to come to Cape Breton.

"Social media does have its perks," said Ed Cobb, a runner in the race and co-organizer. "We had people posting pictures from Tokyo, Kenya, U.S.A., Canada – so, it really added that vibe. I had butterflies in my stomach before and after the run."

Cobb has participated in the relay race for the last nine years, and is one of the co-organizers of the virtual run. He estimates there’s over 300 runners in the race from around the world, including the Maritimes.

"It’s like Christmas in May for runners," he added with a laugh.


The relay race also raises money for the Baddeck Lion’s Club. Each year, the Lions serve a meal at the end-of-relay banquet at the Baddeck Arena – feeding over 1100 hungry runners.

"This is a big fundraiser for them," said Cobb. "They’ve been struggling a little bit through all of this, with two years of no Cabot."

Cobb says this year’s run raised over $4,000 for the Lion’s Club.

Organizers say there’s excitement for next year brewing as well – in hopes of it returning to an in-person race.