It was taking the idea of running the race to a whole new level.
Joe Hill, the NDP candidate for Lambton-Kent–Middlesex, and Jamie Armstrong, the Green Party candidate in the same riding, are used to facing each other across the podium; they’ve run against each other in the last two elections.
But on Monday, the pair faced off in a new way at the Watford-Alvinston Optimist Road Race. “We’re running against each other!” says Hill with a broad smile moments before the race.
Both men, who are now in the middle of the provincial election campaign, are avid runners.
Hill’s main love is cycling. He’s competed a number of times at the International Seniors’ Games winning in his age division. He also likes to get out for a run.
Armstrong began running about three years ago as a way to lose weight and get in shape. He’s run the last three Watford-Alvinston Road Races and a couple of half marathons.
And while the men were lacing up this morning, both wondered how well it would go. There is not a lot of time to exercise in the middle of an election campaign.
Armstrong says forces himself to make time. “You just have to do it,” he says “you just say ‘on that day, I’m doing it for an hour.’”
For Hill, who is not only running as a candidate in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex but is working with Sarnia-Lambton candidate Brian White, it’s a lot harder to get out.
“I say I’m going to do it and I jump in the car to do something and I don’t get to it.”
That may have hurt Hill in the end. Armstrong – who is at least 10 years younger than Hill – crossed the finish line nearly 4 minutes before Hill.
“I don’t know what happened to him, I left him in the distance,” said Armstrong at the finish line.