Doctors in Pictou County are handing out a different kind of prescription in an effort to promote healthy living and exercise.

They’re offering to pay the registration fees for 50 people who want to enter the Johnny Miles Marathon in New Glasgow next month.

“We wanted to do something to promote physical activity in Pictou County, as well as social interaction and community spirit, so what we decided to do was help fund entry fees for the Johnny Miles Marathon weekend,” explains Dr. Brad MacDougall.

The event has been attracting hundreds of runners, walkers, and joggers for more than 40 years, in races of 5K, 10K, half, and full marathons. Organizers have always tried to keep the event affordable and have cut registration fees by 35 per cent.

Now the doctors, with the help of organizers, will pay for 50 registrations for whichever race a patient chooses.

“Our mandate has always been to help create a healthier community, so I think it’s a natural tie-in with the doctors and with Johnny Miles,” says Terry Curley, director of the Johnny Miles Marathon.

“I think by breaking down the financial barriers for those who can’t afford to be active certainly goes a long way in terms of getting people moving.”

And the offer isn’t being extended just to competitive runners, but also to those who enjoy exercise at a slower pace.

“It’s helping me get back into fitness again,” says walker Crystal Smith. “It’s healthy, it’s good for you.”

So far, about 20 free race registrations have been distributed for the event, which takes place on June 16 and June 17.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh