The Sweetest Mouse in the Manitoba Marathon House
Few Manitoba Marathon volunteers can say that they have been involved in the event since day one, but Marilyn Fraser is one of them. A dedicated runner and runner supporter, Marilyn joins us every year to do what she does best: making sure everyone is having as much fun as she is. Thank you Marilyn for your forty runs worth of dedication to the Manitoba Marathon and to all of the runners who have passed through its finish line. You inspire us all.
When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?
I began in 1979 – the very first one, working the finish line with Jack Sassville and the Jackrabbits (a cross country ski team). I was on the Manitoba Runners’ Association Board when John Robertson approached us in 1978 with the proposal. My dad even drove his school bus as part of the transportation committee.
What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?
The last two years I have dressed as Minnie Mouse and helped with the Mini Mites run. I have been presenting finisher medals to Full Marathoners since year 25. I also work as a shadow for the half and full winners (someone who accompanies event winners from the time they finish their race until the awards ceremony). I used to act as the official starter before Nik Nickel; I was the one who got him involved. Other positions I have filled are Media Coordinator, worked on the school committee, part of the finisher hugger team. I have also helped out for many years at the pre-race expo when it was set up at the Ramada Inn, Victoria Inn and now the University of Manitoba. I have enjoyed all of my positions with the Manitoba Marathon that’s why I have travelled back from my home in Calgary for the past three years on my own dime. Running is my PASSION.
What motivates you to stay involved?
To be able to see all the great changes and new runners getting involved with an event that means a lot to me, especially getting to see Len Rolfson cross the finish line for all 39 races. Meeting up with friends from far and wide.
Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?
They are so numerous… to pick just one is a hard choice. Here are a few:
- Working alongside both John and Betty Robertson presenting medals for many years is definitely high on the list.
- Being a hugger and supporting runners who needed assistance has also been important.
- Acting as the media coordinator for a few years and meeting many sports reporters whom I still see and talk too.
- After working on the school committee getting to see all the school run clubs that have developed over the years
- Being in an accident in a police car and a motorcycle while helping with course measurement.
- Being the first person to wear Miles the owl mascot
- Helping Irv Goldstein at Sargent Park with equipment inventory
- Meeting Don Marathon
What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?
How important team work is: many hands make light work. Everyone working towards the same goal to get all the runners across the finish line with their best time while making it both a fun and enjoyable experience.
What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?
SMILE! Have fun and enjoy what you can do to help make the runners experience a positive one. Win/win for all.
What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?
Why the Manitoba Marathon started in the first place, and how it has evolved to where it has become today.
What are some of your other interests? What do you do professionally?
- I am a level 5 Athletics (Track and Field) Official
- Have participated in World Youth (Sherbrooke), World Masters (Kamloops), and World Junior (Moncton), Pan Am Games, Pan Am Junior Games and NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Track & Field)
- Inducted into the Canadian Road Race Hall of Fame in 1992 and inducted into the Manitoba Runners’ Association Hall of Fame 2006 (its inaugural year)
- Life member of the Manitoba Runners’ Association
- I am currently working as an Assistant Resident Manager of an eight story apartment building in Calgary, and in the past worked at Athletes Wear for 14.5 years and also at Running Room, so I have had a lot of experience helping many runners get ready for their races
What kinds of changes have you seen in the Marathon over your years as a volunteer?
I’ve seen it go thru many changes:
- The original course to Headingly that finished in the old stadium
- The Midas Mini event that finished on Wellington Crescent
- The addition of the Half Marathon, 10K, relay, and Super Run events, and then seeing medals being given to finishers of the Half Marathon, 10K, relay in 2017
- Running the course in reverse in 2016 and then in 2017, seeing the finish line back in a stadium
- Addition of the Paula Nordal and Bob Walker awards
How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?
It has made me a better person, by allowing me to give back to my number one love in life RUNNING!!!!!!!