In the sea of bathtubs racing out of Nanaimo’s harbour Sunday, Sheri Scharfe watched excitedly for one she and her late husband built together.
“Pretty surreal and pretty excited,” said Sheri Scharfe.
Her husband, Chris Glenn, was a legend among bathtub racers. He battled the Nanaimo World Championship Bathtub Race’s 58-kilometre course, year after year for decades, and won it twice — a run that ended only when Glenn died of cancer in 2019.
This year, however, was her first time at the race since losing him, and she entrusted his pride and joy tub to Drew McDonald, a 32-year-old racer who said he loves bathtubbing as much as her late husband did.
“It’s kind of surreal it’s a very good emotional time,” said Scharfe, adding. “A lot of good memories, everything that we’ve done over the years, we built it from scratch.”
“We’re going to try and make her proud this weekend,” said Drew McDonald, a Nanaimo bathtub racer who has been involved in Nanaimo’s race since he was a young boy.
Winds were up against racers at 14 knots on Sunday though and of the 25 that started the race, only a handful made it to the finish line.
When the first tub peeled into harbour two hours after the starting gun fired, it was 48-year-old Jaime Garcia who told CHEK News he had been trying to win the title for 20 years.
“Twenty years I’ve been chasing this. It’s great,” said Garcia, as he raised his arms over his head and claimed victory Sunday.
Nanaimo’s Bathtub Races were started in 1967 by then Mayor Frank Ney. His widow also watched on Sunday. Over 55 years later, and she said her husband would be so grateful that the community has kept it going.
“He’d be absolutely thrilled that the people still enjoy it,” said Joyce MacMillan.
When McDonald raced into harbour in third, Scharfe was in tears. Embraced McDonald and thanking him for continuing a legacy, that brought a very joyful part of her marriage back to life for a day.