GORD KURENOFF PHOTO Dennis Nicolato, the affable coordinator of Aldergrove’s Sun Run InTraining Clinic, directed traffic on St. Patrick’s Day at Aldergrove Regional Park, where runners and walkers from Langley and Aldergrove dressed up for their annual combined clinics workout.

Aldergrove pumped for Sun Run

Green scene never fails to pump up Aldergrove and Langley runners

The green hairdo and Irish inflection were clearly fake.

His interesting “costume” seemed to morph parts of the Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef and Royal Canadian Air Farce’s Mike from Canmore.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest you’d never find this loud fashion infraction in a dumpster diver’s closet. In Don Cherry’s? Perhaps.

But all St. Patrick’s Day wardrobe choices aside, there’s no mistaking Dennis Nicolato’s heartfelt passion for people and running — it’s the McReal McDeal.

As he stood on a picnic table in Aldergrove Regional Park last week welcoming Vancouver Sun Run InTraining participants to the annual Aldergrove-Langley combined workout shenanigans, his excitement was transparent.

“Everybody loves this part of the training program. Everybody looks forward to our two groups coming together, dressing up and running in a whole different setting,” said Nicolato, who has been the Aldergrove clinic coordinator for the past five years and a leader for nine.

He and Langley coordinator Sandra Jongs Sayer couldn’t pinpoint the year when this workout merger started, but it’s one Saturday in the 13-week program nobody wants to miss.

“Every year we do this, everybody just has a phenomenal time. You can tell by the costumes and smiles that everybody is having a ton of fun,” said Nicolato, lifting his wig and joking he has no hair left to pull out worrying about the weather or turnout for this annual hookup.

“We do St. Paddy’s Day with Langley. My clinic also runs the Fort to Fort Trail (Fort Langley), goes for a group breakfast and maybe does a themed run or something else to break up the winter monotony. Nobody just wants to go out and run for 13 straight weeks without some added fun.”

The Aldergrove group, which consists of 22 people this winter ranging in age from 25 to 60, is pretty pumped about the 34th annual Vancouver Sun Run, which goes April 22.

“Usually we go down to B.C. Place by bus and have a tailgate party afterwards. Then we have a post-race barbecue back in Aldergrove.

“For me this never gets old. I just like everyone to experience the love of the race, the highs of race day and how great you feel afterwards.”

After crediting wife Joanne — also a leader in Aldergrove — for getting him hooked on the Sun Run, he turned to his group, smiled and fist pumped: “Hey, I’ve just been interviewed for the first time in my life … that’s really cool!”

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