Thank you to all of our entrants for the Run with Heart contest. When we think about all of the things that running has given us we really become more grateful for the gift that is our sport. Here are our top three winners: their stories embody the spirit of what connects us together not just as runners but as humans; compassion, love and perseverance. We hope you are inspired by them as much as we are.


Lucile and her friend Penny

Penny inspired me to complete a full marathon with her in 2017. We also ran the Manitoba Half Marathon and many other races in 2017 with our other running partner Alain. The amazing part is that only a year before she had donated 68% of her liver to save her husband Rob’s life. It was unbelievable that she was actually a match for this rare live organ donation and even with two young kids to consider, she put her life at risk to save her soul mate. They both recovered well and are finally able to live a more normal life after her husband’s almost 20 years of illness.

In Penny’s own words: “Many people have asked me how I have managed to remain active and healthy. I believe my determination to lessen the impact of Rob’s illness on my family was the driving force.  I love to run and early morning runs when the sun is rising has always and continues to help me start my day in a positive frame of mind.  In 2017 we celebrated 20 years of marriage and one year of transplant success. I ran four half marathons, one 30 km race and completed my first full marathon all with an amazing team with me every step of the way.”

Pictured here from left to right: Lucile, Alain and Penny at the Twin Cities Marathon in 2017



Lynne and her daughter Elise

This girl not only helps me run with heart, she is my heart! This is my daughter Elise. She is a natural runner having run with the cross country team in college.  I on the other hand am not a natural runner: I struggle with every mile, and every year I find it a little harder. I love the experience of the Manitoba Marathon, so I continue to participate every year. This year, I had confided to her that I was really worried about how I was going to do, as my training had not gone well. A week before the marathon, she called me and said “Mom, what would you think if I came to run the half marathon with you?” I was blown away: I couldn’t believe she wanted to do that for me, and was willing to fly all the way from Vancouver just to run with me! Despite being very busy running her own business, the expense of the airfare and having to leave her husband to hold down the fort looking after their three year old she was there for me. She got me through the race with her positivity, patience, and wonderful sense of humour, even towards the end when I tend to get cranky.  It meant the world to cross that finish line with her: running with heart, running with love!


Annick and her husband Dennis

I know I couldn’t run as long and as often as I do without my husband, Dennis. My training runs are always right after work or early Sunday mornings. During the week, he gets home before I do, so he feeds the cats, and makes supper so I have the nutrition I need to keep doing what I love to do day after day. On Sunday mornings breakfast is always on the table waiting for me, sometimes closer to noon after grueling 22-milers. He buys the groceries, taking into consideration the kinds of food my body needs to fuel (carbs) and repair (protein) itself.

He has never complained about how often I train (6 days a week) or for how long I am out (2 to 3 hours at a time, sometimes more), even when Saturday nights are usually cut short because of my long runs the following day. He understands why I do what I do and supports it 100%. Even though my last two marathons (Manitoba in 2016 and Boston earlier this year) didn’t go as planned, he was there at the finish line, as proud as could be. He talks about my accomplishments to his friends and family, as if what I do is the best thing since sliced bread. My response? “I just run.”

Here he is after running his first race ever (in Iceland this summer). It was my turn to see him cross his finish line, with my heart full of pride. I love you, honey!


Jeremy Walker comes from a family of remarkable runners: his father Tim, his uncle Bob, brother Brian and wife Nicole are all veterans of the Manitoba Marathon. With all of that history and support, Jeremy completed his first Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Full Marathon this year and finished in an equally remarkable second place. With drive and determination Jeremy is definitely keeping his family legacy alive and strong, and he shared some of his personal tips with us to help you get ready to run.

 Why do you run?

I like the feeling of being fit and the runner’s high of finishing a good workout. It’s also a good way to relive stress and set aside for some time for myself.

What do you do for cross-training?

I’ve been doing a lot of biking in the last couple of years. I try to work this into my training about twice a week with a shorter ride during the week and a longer ride on the weekend. This is throughout the year, but I will drop these when I get closer to races. In the past few years, I’ve also started doing circuits/weights more consistently and try to fit these in twice a week. I focus on this more in the off-season with longer, more difficult sessions.

 When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

I typically have goals of what races I plan on doing in an upcoming season, but generally I like to listen to my body and plan my training on a weekly basis. I’ve been running long enough that the overall plan for the next couple months is in my head, but this allows me to make necessary adjustments daily so I can stay healthy and be consistent.

What was the most challenging race you have ever completed and why?

That’s a tough one. I’ve had lots of tough race for different reasons. The Manitoba Marathon was very tough this year as my legs were cramping the last 4 miles and although I wanted to go faster, my body wasn’t letting me in those last few miles.

If you could run any race what would it be?

I think it would be fun to run one of the marathon majors, so I’ll say the London Marathon.

Do you have any pre-race rituals (food, organization, activities, etc.)?

I usually have pasta for dinner the night before big races and get all my clothes ready. I will get up at least 2 hours before the race to give my body time to wake up and I usually eat a banana and a homemade bun with peanut butter shortly after getting up. I typically arrive at the race an hour beforehand to give me time to warmup and use the washroom.

What is your favorite post-race meal or snack?

Definitely ice cream: I like Dairy Queen Blizzards!

 What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I’d say it comes back to cross-training which helps reduce the impact from running while still increasing my weekly training time. As well as circuit training to ensure I’m well balanced and strong to handle the volume.

 What advice would you give to someone who has just started running?

Be consistent. If you want to improve, you just need to slowly increase your running volume and intensity and you will be surprised how much faster you will get if you stick with it.

Do you have a personal running hero or mentor?

I’ve always looked up to my Dad and Uncle and I’m still chasing their best marathon times so that keeps me motivated!



Ray Colliou is a busy sales representative for a pet food distributor, but when it comes to the Manitoba Marathon he has more up his sleeve. A lover of animals, outdoor activities and spending time with his wife and their two dogs Ray is also the amazing leader of the Manitoba Marathon Cycle Team. The amount of organization and dedication that the role requires tells you a lot about Ray: he is one of the most solid and reliable volunteer leaders that an organization could hope to have. His incredible team keeps runners safe while they are on course, accompanying the very first to the very last one and coordinating with the Communications Centre the whole way.

Thank you Ray for the amazing years of commitment and support you bring to the Marathon family. What would we do without you?

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

I have been volunteering for about 35 years. I first started doing security at the stadium. I got involved because my wife had a term position with the Manitoba Marathon she had asked me to help out.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

I coordinate the cyclists on the course who help keep spectators, vehicles, and un-official cyclists off the course who could potentially interfere with runners. We also help answer questions that spectators and runners may have. I enjoy being able to help provide a safe course for all those runners who have spent so much time preparing for this one special day.

What motivates you to stay involved?

I believe I have one of the best volunteer positions with the Marathon. The Official Cyclists get to ride along the course and share in the excitement and energy. I’m proud to be a part of something as big as the Manitoba Marathon.  I’ve now been volunteering for the Marathon for so long I don’t want to break the streak.

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?

Every year is a great memory.  I make sure all the runners are off the course and so I follow the last runner to the stadium. They know that they are last but I remind them that first or last, you completed a full marathon and it’s a small percentage of the population who can say they completed a full marathon.  Everyone has a special reason for running and they all share that reason with me when we are on the course all alone coming in last.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

Patience. With all the excitement and energy during the race, sometimes you encounter people trying to cross the course in a vehicle to get to work or church or trying to find their son or daughter who is participating and they are abrupt and anxious and so using a little patience and speaking with them in a calm manner helps defuse the situation and create a positive outcome.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Remind yourself that you are a part of a really big event for Manitoba and that the participants have trained long and hard and some have come from quite far away and so try and do the best you can to make their experience one they will remember. Have fun and soak it all up.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

I wish people knew just how much work goes into preparing this great event. There is so much planning and so many contingency plans which have to be thought of and how so much of the city is affected and as soon as one year is in the books, it starts all over again. This is a year round preparation for one day.

What kinds of changes have you seen in the Marathon over your years as a volunteer?

Two things:

  1. Technology. We are using technology to provide more information than ever before and that is really interesting and exciting to see.
  2. Volunteering. As life seems to be getting busier and busier, the biggest change that comes to mind is how it seems to be getting harder to find volunteers. We have an amazing core of volunteers but as we all get older new people have to step in and make the time. We all have the time if we chose to make the time.

Volunteering is something everyone should do.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

Volunteering has helped me in terms of appreciating what we have.  Making the time to volunteer and getting myself better organized to achieve commitments. During the event, I watch people through sheer determination complete their chosen event and that motivates me do achieve some of my personal goals.


Steffan Reimer inspires students at Mitchell Elementary School every day as a physical education teacher and a role model for dedication to his sport. He is a tough competitor and pushes hard for his goals, finishing third in 2016 and fourth this year in the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Full Marathon. Steffan was also the recipient of the 2016 Bob Walker Memorial award which honours the fastest Manitoban male and female athletes between the ages of 19 and 29.  With a great attitude and strong desire to contend, we can’t wait to see what Steffan is going to do next!

Why do you run?

I love the competition side of running.  I am an extremely competitive guy no matter what game or sport I participate in, so race day is the day I run for.  Over the last couple years I’ve learnt to enjoy the training more, but being competitive against myself and more recently others on race day is my motivation to train.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I’m a physical education teacher so cross training comes naturally every day! I take a couple months off the ‘intense’ marathon training during the winter, but I’m an active sport-loving guy, so there’s never a lazy season of the year!

If you could run any race what would it be?

I ran Boston in 2015 so that was definitely a highlight, but I’d also like to run the other Marathon majors if possible. The other overseas race that I’d like to run is the Athens Marathon that follows the original route of the first ever marathon from Marathon to the original Olympic stadium in Athens.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I know it sounds cliché, but I listen to my body.  Not every run has to be at max effort, hardly any in fact.  If something feels off, I run accordingly.  Most injuries happen because people try to push through minor injuries and they further injure themselves.

 When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

Well, 3 years ago I decided to take my running more seriously and smashed all my ‘lifetime’ goals that same season!  So these days I set goals one race at a time.  If it’s a time goal, I set those when I start training for that marathon.  If it’s a place goal, those get set at the start line when I see the competition.  And sometimes both time and place goals change during the run depending how the race is going.

What was the most challenging race you have ever completed and why?

My first marathon: I was a naïve 17-year-old when I ran it a day after playing in a two-day soccer tournament.  I had no idea what I was getting into at the time and the battles going through my head during the race were insane.  But each and every marathon since then has been challenging in its own unique way as well.  You have to respect the 26.2 miles or it will bite you in the butt!

What is your favorite post-race meal or snack?

Pizza, chips and pop! I know it’s not the best recovery meal, but it’s the one I don’t have a lot of during the training time leading up to race day.  Plus the salt of the chips never tastes as good as it does after sweating for that long!

Do you have a personal running hero or mentor?

There have been different people in my life that have helped push me.  My junior high soccer/basketball coach ran marathons so he was the first running inspiration. Recently I’ve been training a bit with Greg Penner who’s a 2:36 marathon runner and Ironman athlete and he has been a great partner/coach full of wisdom and advice for anything running.

What advice would you give to someone who has just started running?

First of all, YES! I love it whenever anyone starts taking physical activity seriously! In terms of advice, no matter what your running abilities, set a goal that is going to push you both physically and mentally.  It doesn’t need to be a marathon, for a lot of people it begins with a 5K.  If that goes well, increase the distance.  Just keep at it!


Jeff Dovyak has been lending his expertise on race weekend for more than 20 years. He leads a team of more than 100 volunteers from the Winnipeg Amateur Radio Emergency Service in supporting all elements of communication on race day. We thank Jeff and his amazing team of professionals for all they do to keep our course safe and our runners supported from start to finish line. We couldn’t do it without them.

What job do you do on race day?

Since 1994 I have been the Emergency Coordinator for Winnipeg Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), ARES is a group of certified Amateurs who have an interest in emergency and public service communications. In the past several years, ARES has become the lead Amateur Radio organization in coordinating volunteer Amateur Radio communications for the Marathon. I deal with Marathon leadership and leadership of the other local Amateur Radio organizations. On Race Day, I’m the driver/radio operator in THERAPY 5, a passenger van mobile on the course with either an Athletic Therapist (AT) or a Physiotherapist (PT).

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

In 1980 or so I was associated with Manitoba Athletic Therapists Association (MATA) and thinking about an AT career. Then around 1993 our Manitoba Marathon Amateur Radio operator (who knew that I had an interest in Amateur Radio) mentioned that the Canadian regulations had changed and that Morse Code proficiency was no longer a license requirement. It was fascinating to me what the Amateur Radio community could provide in terms of tactical communications and by 1994 I was a licensed Amateur Radio operator (now we are certified by Industry Canada as opposed to licensed) and involved with reviving Winnipeg ARES.

What motivates you to stay involved?

Ongoing involvement with ARES and Manitoba Marathon is a way of paying back the community for the radio spectrum enjoyed by all Radio Amateurs. It is also very interesting.

Do you have a particular race day memory that stands out?

My son Luke VE4WTF became a certified Amateur approximately 13 years ago and it was great to have him partner with me soon after becoming certified.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

Being patient with the variety of skill levels and experiences the volunteer pool provides.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Find out as much as you can about your Race Day assignment in advance, get contact information for your component coordinator, and to visit your Race Day location in advance.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon?

I wish people realized how many volunteers covering so many diverse functions come together Race Day to make the Manitoba Marathon the success that it is.

What do you do professionally? What are some of your other interests?

I was a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for almost 20 years before going into Radiation Safety, now I’m the Radiation Safety Coordinator for a health authority and involved with our national Radiation Protection society (registration exam, Board of Directors, conference organization). I maintain both RTNM and CRPA (R) certifications.

I am also interested in Emergency Management, getting away to the lake, the Blue Bombers & Winnipeg Jets.

What kinds of changes have you seen in the Marathon over your years as a volunteer?

Well, the most obvious is the course used to run counter-clockwise, now it runs clockwise.

We used to take almost a full day to photocopy all of the written materials required by Amateur Radio volunteers on Race Day, but now we compile an information booklet in MS Publisher and Marathon staff sends it off for printing.

We get a lot more done in between face-to-face meetings using e-mail and in some cases have been able to dispense with some meetings.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

Volunteer work mainly with ARES (but also with Manitoba Marathon and other public events) as well as connections in Emergency Management causes me to look at many activities and venues in a different way. If I had to identify one thing it would probably be preparedness.


Patti Mersereau-Leblanc is a long time runner. Two years ago, she was shocked to find herself having a SCAD heart attack at the age of 49. Below is the story in her own words: her struggle through the initial stages of recovery and her hard won return to running. Patti’s story reminds us not to take our health for granted and that sometimes we have to fight for something we are passionate about. Thank you Patti for sharing your inspiring story!

In the fall of 2015 I ramped up my running and started training for my first ultra-marathon: 50K to celebrate my 50th birthday the following spring. I had met with a personal trainer a couple of times just to make sure I was on the “right track” and all was well until December 22 of that year. I had picked up my full crockpot to head to church for a Christmas prayer service, but the moment I picked it up I felt weird. I headed off to church anyway only to return ten minutes later because my arm was numb and tingly. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest; I couldn’t get a big breath and the pain in my chin was unbearable. Within five minutes of being assessed by the paramedics it was confirmed I was having a full blown heart attack.

At the hospital I was diagnosed with having a SCAD Heart Attack (spontaneous coronary artery dissection). Two of my arteries had torn and were causing blockages. After three hours in the CATH-LAB and a 3cm stent, I was home three days later.

Recovery was the tricky part. Cardiac Rehab was full of recovering patients, mostly from Cardiovascular Disease, but my diagnosis was a bit different. I was not allowed to lift anything, do anything fast  and was NOT allowed to run. Cardiac Rehab was once a week: a 45 minute lecture followed by 10, 15, and then eventually 20 minutes of cardio. 10 minutes of cardio??? What the heck? Who does 10 minutes of cardio? One month ago I ran 10 miles, now I get 10 minutes of cardio??

It was a real struggle. All of the people around me were getting healthier, walking further, and faster every week, losing weight and following new healthy eating plans. I was a runner for 22 years and now the Cardiac Rehab nurse was encouraging me to walk for 10 minutes. I was gaining weight, I no longer had the energy or desire to cook all my homemade healthy meals, and I was depressed. What good did all those years of healthy living get me? A stupid heart attack.

Seven weeks after my heart attack I went for a stress test. I was petrified I was going to die. I had to run as fast as I could for as long as I could uphill on a treadmill. Part of me was thinking “I am a runner, a marathon runner, I will be just fine”. I lasted eight minutes.. eight stupid minutes! I cried, and cried. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t stop crying, but instead of going home and moping, I stopped, bought some eyeliner and cover up, brushed myself off and went to work.

The following Saturday, it was 7:00 AM and I was lying in bed crying (still) thinking how terrible my life had become. Then I thought if they could make me run that hard, for that long during my stress test, I MUST be able to go for a slow run, right? I got up, sneaked all my running stuff out of the bedroom (my husband would not have been impressed if he knew what my plan was) and got dressed to go out for a nice winter run. My dog was pumped! He hadn’t seen my running shoes out for a while.

As I left the house, I checked for the 100th time that I had my phone and my nitro: when I left the hospital after my heart attack, they said because of SCAD I could never be without my phone and my nitro ever again. I put my phone in one pocket, and I could feel the nitro tube in the other and away I went. It was the slowest run ever, but I ran two miles in 45 minutes. I felt like an Olympian! When I got home, I emptied my pockets and put my phone on the kitchen table along with…a tube of lip balm?? What I thought was my nitro in my pocket was just a lip balm! My goodness, if I had realized during my run that I had Chapstick instead of nitro, I would have given myself a heart attack!!

That was 20 months ago and I have not stopped running since that day. With the guidance of my cardiologist Dr. Minhas I have kept running with no distance restrictions, just a slow pace. Very slow: I am to keep my heart rate under 130 bpm at all times. I have also found some amazing private Facebook support groups. Cardiac Athletes and SCAD survivors are worldwide and Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation has a strong community of survivors.

There is a big emotional component to recovery from a cardiac event like SCAD: it’s like I am afraid to live, but I also afraid to die. Some days are good some are not so good, but as time goes by the good days far outweigh the bad. The bad days have a good way of reminding me to listen to my body, maybe I need some rest, and I don’t push too hard. I wouldn’t be running without the support of my husband, family, my very dedicated running partner Colleen, and those Facebook groups. My sister bought me a pair of turtle earrings (to remind me to go slow) five days after my heart attack and I have worn them every day since.

Since my SCAD I have run six half marathons, with the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon being my fastest (two of those half marathons were on the same weekend!).  My goal was to finish in under three hours and I did.

I still really want a bumper sticker that says ULTRA MARATHONER, so I will continue to train, listen to my body, enter races here and there and think positive. I am hoping everything will come together and I will be able to run the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, MB in 2018.





Winnipeg runner Rebecca Cunnane tells me that she doesn’t have a running mentor or hero but it is easy to see how she inspires other runners to be their personal best. A single mother of three beautiful children, Rebecca still manages to run at least five times a week as well as cross training by teaching cycling. Placing third in the Manitoba Marathon this year, Rebecca runs for the joy and peace of it, and may just inspire you to do the same.  

Why do you run?

I find running relaxing, the ease of movement seems like play: I’m doing what I want to do and enjoying it. I like to set goals for performance and that motivates me to run at certain speeds but the main reason is that I feel healthy, happy and peaceful during and after each run.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I teach cycle classes which is great year round cross training. I also try to fit in at least three strength workouts a week even if it’s just 20 minutes so I’m not only working the running muscles.

If I could run any race what would it be?

Big Sur California is definitely on my list in the next few years. A dream race would be the Safaricom marathon at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya.  Although it’s regarded as one of the world’s toughest marathons, runners of all abilities can take part. How humble would you feel to run amongst wild animals?!

What is your favourite post-race meal/snack?

It takes me a few hours to eat after a race but I always try to at least eat a banana as they are always in recovery at the end of a race! I usually have a meal pre-prepared at home which will be a meat and veggie dish with plenty of water to go with it!

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I’d have to say foam rolling after each run whenever possible and deep tissue massage every six weeks or when any ongoing tightness occurs.

What advice would you give someone who had just started running?

Make it ‘play’, walk when you need to, run as fast or as slow as you feel, find new roads, trails and explore your city on foot. Don’t see it as a chore see it as a blessing to get outside and have ‘me’ time.

When you think about setting goals for yourself what is the process like? How far in advance do you plan? 

The full marathon is my favourite distance so I know I will try to run at least one every year, then I will set a goal time based on my previous year’s best time. I give myself three goals: one finish goal, one PB goal, and one that shaves a few minutes off of a PB. The process is 16 weeks of training with a few shorter races in between to make sure I’m on track. I run 5-6 days a week and each year I modify my training to ‘experiment ‘ and see how my body adapts and performs.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Coffee, oatmeal and arrive an hour early to warm up and get excited!

What was the most challenging race you ever completed and why?

I’d have to say the Spruce Woods 50 mile Ultra, because I got lost!! It was 4 x 20 km loops on the second loop I got lost and ran miles off course. I found my way back but had added an extra eight miles on: it was tough to continue the next 40 km because mentally I had to set the bar higher for the mileage. The body was willing but my mind tried to hold me back… the body won.

Do you have a personal running hero or mentor?

No hero/ mentor. I see many faces at many races or out on the road/ trails grinding it out, fighting their own personal battles with different reasons for running.

My three beautiful children are my heroes and I like to think I will inspire them to take care of their bodies and minds by being active & healthy.

How do you manage to balance an aggressive training schedule with your home life?

I am a single mother with three young children and no family here in Canada to help out so time to train is limited, but I find that the less time I have the more of a quality workout I perform! I make each workout count because who knows what life will bring up: sick child, work priority, kids activities etc. To fit it in I use the YMCA childcare room so I can run on the treadmills. In the summer I take my kids to a track so they can play or run around too. I have also been known to trade off play dates so when it’s my turn to have an hour or two free I use it to run. And on weekends when my children are with their father, I wake at 5:30 am to run before work.

I don’t see it as an option, I don’t think if I should to take my kid to soccer or not, we just go: same with my workouts. It’s important to be committed to your own sport and health as it is to your children’s because you are their role model and what better way to show them that there’s more to life than electronics! I honestly believe that anyone can find 30-60 minutes a day to be active, kids in tow or not.





Anyone who has run an event at the Manitoba Marathon has passed through the Van Dam Corners: the first turns out onto the course and the last two turns before the finish line. These corners are a major logistical challenge – making sure runners head out and back in on the correct lanes and that spectators are controlled requires a strong degree of organization and leadership, and we are fortunate enough to have Henri and Jane to lead the charge. Knowing that these corners are so well taken care of on race day by the Van Dams and their crew of volunteers is so important and we owe them a great debt of gratitude. Thank you to both of them for all they do to help our participants start and finish strong!

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

We started volunteering for the Manitoba Marathon in 1990. Henri was working for Beatrice Foods and as they were a major sponsor of the Manitoba Marathon at that time he was approached about volunteering to hand out chocolate milk and popsicles.  Since the Marathon was on Fathers Day and we had 3 children, we made the decision to turn this volunteer opportunity into a “Family Affair” and we all attended.  Our children were ages 6, 4 and 3 months old so the older ones handed out milk and our baby slept through the whole event.

What roles have you both held on race day?

Over the years as we continued to volunteer, our level of participation and role changed from handing out food to working on the track to being a part of the Tech Team and training, placing and working with other volunteers to manage the activity after the start of the race and at the entry to the stadium. We ensure that runners are on the right path to the finish line while supporting and encouraging them on the last bit of their race to finish the best that they can.  As our roles changed over the years so did the roles of our children who continued to volunteer and assist in a variety of capacities….mostly doing what Dad and Mom asked them to do! They also started running …first all in the Super Run and then one of our daughters went on to run a number of Half Marathons and this year she completed her first Full Marathon.

What motivates you to stay involved?

It has been very rewarding to be a part of this wonderful community event that raises funds and awareness for people with intellectual challenges. It has also been great to get to know the Marathon Staff and to have their support in our volunteer work. Finally, it has been rewarding to see how our children have continued to volunteer and support the Marathon. They have grown up thinking of Father’s Day as Marathon Day…….knowing that they will get up early and spend the day on the course doing whatever is needed. To their credit, our children have continued to volunteer over the past 25+ years …even running and after finishing …returning to the course to volunteer.

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?

Our greatest memory is seeing the waves of runners at the start line with their anticipation to see how all their training and hard work will turn out as they start their run and to see those same runners at the end of their race pushing to finish and accomplish their goal.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

We have gained many skills through our volunteer work and have learned a lot about how much work goes into the Marathon. We have learned about the uniqueness of each person who makes the decision to commit to a goal to run, whatever distance they choose, and how they give their all to this goal. They not only run for themselves but often we see how they run for others, run as a group or for a cause or a special person. We have also learned that just as the runners start working towards their marathon goal many months ahead…the staff and volunteers also prepare many months in advance of race day to ensure that every detail is attended to so that race day will be as smooth as possible. It definitely takes a team and a great leader too!

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Any advice for a new volunteer would be …”Enjoy the day…appreciate the energy …and take it all in …. This is a really special event”.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

We wish that people would know more about the work of the Manitoba Marathon Foundation and their efforts on behalf of people with intellectual challenges and that continues all year round…. not only on marathon day.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

The Manitoba Marathon has for us has become a Family Affair! For the past 28 years, Father’s Day means waking up at 5:00 am and heading to the University to be at Chancellor Matheson …bright eyed and ready to meet and greet runners and spectators and answer questions of all sorts. It means we will spend the day engaged in helping others meet their goals despite the many challenges that may come along. It means being prepared for the unknown and ready to think on our feet and outside of the box. It means we will have Manitoba weather…whatever that is… hot, cold, wet or anything in between. It means we will see many people we only see once a year. It means that we will spend the day as a family watching other families do the same. It means losing your voice from cheering and getting home at 2:00 pm and going for a long nap. It means having an amazing day and a truly unique experience, as no two years are ever the same. It means that we will be back next year …and happily do it all over again.

Thank you to Rachel and the Staff of the Manitoba Marathon for all they do to make volunteering such a positive experience!

Congratulations Golden Carrot Winners







Running Room’s Pace Bunny team is such an important part of race day at the Manitoba Marathon: they keep our runners motivated and on track. This hard working team makes your goal their goal and we are so grateful to Lorraine Walton for organizing such an amazing team of dedicated runners.

The Golden Carrot award was created in 2016 to recognize the Pace Bunnies that come closest (without going over) to hitting their finish time. One award is given to both the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Full Marathon and the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon.

This year our winner for the Full Marathon was Shelan Ennis, our 3:50 Pace Bunny: she finished at an amazing 3:49:48:8.

Our Half Marathon recipient was Scott Sugimoto: as the 2:30 Pace Bunny he crossed the finish line at a razor sharp 2:29:59:1.

Congratulations to both Shelan and Scott – you are amazing. Our thanks go out to all of the Pace Bunnies for their motivation and hard work!



50,000. That is approximately how many runners Andrea Ladouceur has seen across the finish line at the Manitoba Marathon. In 2013 Andrea began working with the one and only Nancy Gajdosik as the team lead for the Infield Shadows. Since then, Andrea has been working to ensure that our elite athletes and winners have a great experience on race day. Thank you Andrea for all of your hard work and dedication in making our runners’ big day as special as possible.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

On race day I am in the finish line and infield area working with the finish line shadows (people who partner up with racers that placed first, second and third).  My job is to work with the shadows to make sure we meet and welcome these racers into the recovery area and help them with whatever they need. The other part of the job is to make sure these folks arrive at the medal ceremony. The best part of this job is working with the shadow team, meeting the racers and being right at the finish line when the racers cross

What motivates you to stay involved?

Hands down the people and the fact that it is so easy to volunteer: the pre-event and event activity is very well organized and I feel it is time well spent being involved.  I know what is expected of me, the communication is clear and I always feel very welcome and appreciated.

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?

One of my greatest memories is meeting some of the racers with extra compelling stories. Some of the racers are extremely inspiring: stories like newcomers to Canada, a runner who has recently given birth, someone with a physical challenge…the list goes on.

Another special memory happened this year when my four year old and two year old ran in the Mini Mite race.  Watching them run was an extra special moment for us. The volunteers made the event so special for the kids. If anyone is considering putting their kids in the event, DO IT.  So cute.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

I have gained leadership skills for sure.  At times team members have questions or issues that arise and I work hard to make sure that they are addressed and people feel supported.  Sometime things don’t go according to plan, which happens. What matters is how it is dealt with and how people are treated. I do my best to make sure that even in the busy times; we still enjoy the event and our roles.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

The inspiration and excitement of the event is worth your volunteer hours.  Yes, there is an early start to the day but the inspiration and excitement, and free coffee, is worth the effort.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

I wish people could see the full value of the event and how the Foundation adds to our community.  If you have a passion to give back to your community, volunteering for the Marathon is a two-for-one deal: you support racers on their big day while raising money to support our community.

What are some of your other interests? What do you do professionally?

I have worked for the Provincial Government for the past 10 years here in Winnipeg. Currently I am on maternity leave and going back to work shortly. Some of my other interests are leadership development, raising three little kiddies with my husband Adam and volunteering.

What kinds of changes have you seen in the Marathon over your years as a volunteer?

One of my favs, is the app that is used on Race day.  It has great potential to connect people with their results and people that are not at the stadium.  Also the move to the Investors Group Field is one of the biggest changes I have seen at the Marathon.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

I have been more open to volunteering for other groups; however, I have been spoiled by how well the Manitoba Marathon runs its event.  It has also inspired me to involve my kids in more sports and physical activity events.





Neepawa native Daniel Heschuk is a third year member of the University of Manitoba Track and Field team and the male winner of this year’s Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon. Daniel has had a busy summer competing in both the Western Canada Challenge and then at the Canada Games running the 5,000 metre. A bright runner with a lot of drive and energy, Daniel is clearly just getting started.

Why do you run?

Running allows me to come up with goals that I can work to achieve, whether it be a time-specific goal or a placing specific goal. It’s this goal setting and achieving process that motivates me to run.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I don’t really have much of a consistent cross training program which the exception of core and arm strength exercises which I do 3-4 times a week. There are periods of time where I’ll take up biking and swimming, but nothing too consistent.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

When setting goals for myself, I like to plan them specifically for that season (cross-country, indoor track, outdoor track). I typically like to set them at the beginning of the season and depending on how the season goes, my goals may be changed where I see fit.

If you could run any race what would it be?

My dream for running would be to compete in a race for Team Canada. Right now though I have numerous other benchmarks to reach before I can consider setting my sights on anything of that caliber.

What is your favorite post-race meal or snack?

I eat an absurd amount of bananas in the eyes of the typical human, so I guess those would be my favourite post run snack (and pre-run or anytime snack).

 What is your number one method for injury prevention?

My number one method for injury prevention is to stop running when I feel pain and to see an athletic therapist when needed.

Do you have any pre-race rituals (food, organization, activities, etc.)?

I see every race as a different experience and that goes for the pre-race as well. I don’t have any real pre-race rituals, but I typically like to get myself into a fairly relaxed state and not think about the race until I’m at the start line.

Do you have a personal running hero or mentor?

My track team is my biggest inspiration for running. They inspire me to improve myself in all facets of life.





Arden Hill wears many hats: teacher, artist, father AND devoted runner. He has completed more than 25 events in a variety of distances, including 10 half marathons, one full marathon and the grueling Sprucewoods

50K Ultra earlier this year. His first full marathon was at the Manitoba Marathon this year which was particularly special for him: “it was amazing to finish at Investors Group Field but

the course passed right by my house at 18 miles and my family was out there with a ton of neighbours and friends to cheer me on”.

 Why do you run?

I definitely run to keep the pounds off as well as to clear away the cobwebs. But I think it goes deeper than that. I run to remind myself that my body is alive, strong, and fast. It can take a lot. I am not as strong as our ancestors that had to chase animals into the forest to provide food for their families, but this body is strong. It allows me to get lost and forget that we are in a manufactured world where things hurt. Getting away from that is worth it. Although I use technology to help understand my race training, when I run I get away from the hive of do this, do that, follow this, look at me. Finally, I run because it helps me to remember. Remember those moments when I had less fear, less pain, less inhibitions, and remind me that I haven’t changed much. I have added more pain, more inhibitions, more fear, and I hope with each run I can shake of these concerns for the two, three, four hours and enjoy life, nature, and my strength. I’ve worked hard to get to this point in my life. I can go for a long run at night, in the extreme cold of the Manitoba winter, and in a far reaching forest where cellphones are as good as rocks. Not everyone has that ability. That openness. I worked at this for the last 42 years and dreamed of it as a kid. Now I am living it. I run because I am a runner. An adventurer. A human. A dreamer and open to being lost.

Do you have a personal running hero or mentor?

My running hero would easily have to be Kilian Jornet. His most recent fame is running Mount Everest unassisted by oxygen twice in one week. Beside all of his accomplishments, I am most attracted to his belief in running, “I like competing, as it is a way to meet friends and to self-improve. But, above all, I conceive sport as a way to discover landscapes both inside and outside you”.

What was the most challenging race you have ever completed and why?

The Sprucewoods Ultra 2017 – 50Km distance. I experienced legs cramps at about 14 miles into the race due to an electrolyte imbalance but would not quit. I pushed through the remaining 18 miles knowing my family was waiting for me at the end. Also, like in most trail races the mileage is a guestimate and so this race had a few extra miles tacked on to the end.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

This is a great question. The process has been one of learning. When I was an inexperienced runner, I learned my lessons pretty quickly through failure and bonking. Now I like to set three goals for every race. One I am willing to talk about which is the max time I want to take. Another one I let people know which would be the minimum amount of time I think I would take. This would be if a miracle day occurred. And the final one is private, and is often times not as conservative as I should make it. These manifest themselves usually in the final weeks of the training block and then the days leading up to the race depending on how I am feeling. An example of this from this year’s marathon: my max time goal was finishing the full marathon under 4:30. The miracle day goal was 4 hours. My private goal was 4:20. I finished at 4:09.

If you could run any race what would it be?

I would love to run the Squamish 50 in British Columbia put on by Gary Robbins. It looks tough as hell but at the same time, stunningly beautiful.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

Cross training is essential to running although we often feel we don’t have time for it. My cross-training is year round and consists of a little bit of strength-training, physiotherapy, massage, active recovery like walking and skating in the winter, cycling, and more recently meditation.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Definitely. All runners do. I make sure everything is laid out the night before, so when I wake up in the morning there is no guessing. In the morning I have to shower to wake up the body and mind, dress, and then head to the kitchen for 1 pack of instant oatmeal, sliced up half banana, teaspoon of maple syrup, and chia seeds followed by two shots of espresso mixed with an equal amount of frothed milk. Then off to the washroom for a (censored).

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

Haha… I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I am not very good at preventing injuries. I have heard not running is good at injury prevention but we all know that’s not going to happen.

 What is your favorite post-race meal or snack?
My favourite post-race snack is hands down salty potato chips but a close second is a big ol’burger with bacon.



As the Principal at Victor H.L. Wyatt School, Tim MacKay spends his days influencing young minds, but as his role as a Board of Directors member for the Manitoba Marathon, he is working hard to encourage the next generation of runners. He is an ambassador for the Champions in Training program, Manitoba Marathon’s school-age run club program and works hard to spread the message of the benefits of participation. Tim is an active runner in his own right, running for fitness since his youth, and participating in organized distance events for the past decade.


Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

I don’t have a mantra per se. Running brings so many benefits to my life I simply have remember how I would feel if I don’t get out for a run.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I try to be consistent with strength training and other activities throughout the year. If I try to cram it all in only during a heavy training cycle, I don’t do as well overall.

What would be your dream race that you’d want to run?

I don’t have a big destination race as a dream. That said, I have places in mind that I would love to run – not in a race – just to run. Grand Canyon, West Coast Trail, Patagonia, Grasslands. The list goes on.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/pre-race?

Nutrition is something I try to stay on top of all the time rather than having a specific race week plan. If I have done a good job with my nutrition over several months, race week nutrition is relatively simple.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post run?

I love the post-race big breakfast: eggs, sausage, toast, hash-browns.

 What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

My weekly average is consistently between 30km and 50km/week year round. If I’m working toward a race, it might go up another 30km a week to 80km.

 What is your number one method for injury prevention?

The 3 S’s: Strength train, Stretch, Sleep!!

What advice would you give to someone who has just started running– why is running worth it?

The best advice I can give anyone, whether they be a serious runner or a recreational runner, is to engage with and celebrate the community of running. Running is actually not a solitary sport – the community that is involved in this sport is made up of an amazing array of humans with fantastic stories and experiences. By connecting with the community, you will be opening yourself up to friendships and a lifetime of running enjoyment.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

I like setting out an annual race plan, with one or two “main events” for which I have specific goals. The goals might be based on how well I’ve been developing so can then be ambitious, or they might be based on a reset following an injury or a disappointment so are then more relaxed. Nonetheless, an annual race plan keeps me involved with training and connected to events in the community.

What advice would you give to ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

Care less! I’m serious. Care less about your time and more about your experience. Be sure to enjoy the run. No matter what your time ends up being, it’ll be the best race you’ve had that day!!



Running the Tangent: Keeping in Line on Race Day

One of the comments that we received from our race day feedback was regarding the distance of the race. In the age of the Garmin, most of us track our mileage and pace in real time as we run. A number of runners have noted that they felt that the course was measuring long based on their GPS after completing the race.

All Manitoba Marathon event courses are carefully measured by both our Operations Manager Laurie Penton and Course Officiant, Alan Parkin. Using bicycles fitted with a Jones Counter (which measures the revolutions of the bike wheel to allow for ultra-precise readings), Laurie and Alan ride the course in pre-calculated counts or sections to ensure that the course is correct. This is of course a highly simplified explanation  of a process that involves very precise measuring, followed by submission of a multitude of documents to Athletics Canada that outline the process and calculations of the course, including sketches outlining the measurement process of the course (like the one below for the newly changed and re-certified 10K route). [If you really want to go for extra credit this article outlines more of the specifics of course measurement and how the Jones counter is used.]

Once the course is certified it is your turn to run.  But if it has been so precisely measured, why does your GPS show that you have run more miles than advertised?

The answer is the tangent, my friend. All races are measured on the tangent, which essentially means that it is always marked on the shortest path around curves and turns. Simplistically, if you are coming up on a left hand turn in the road, it means that you are angling your path in to the curve so that you are taking it closest to the inside as opposed to circling wide on the other side of the road.

This is of course more easily said than done in a lot of cases: if you tend to pace in the packs, getting over to the curb or even running a diagonal path can be nearly impossible. This is where those extra wide curves and moves to get around other runners at water stations can add up to extra mileage at the end of the day.

The best we can do as runners it to always keep the tangent in mind around curves and do your best to be on them. Sometimes it will be possible, sometimes it won’t, but keeping it in mind will help to cut out some of the extra feet which will lead to extra miles. For a great article on being tangent-focused, click here.  Keeping the math of the miles in mind can help you shave some time off of your race – run smarter, not harder!




“It begins with a single step”

This is the perfectly suited running and life motto of Gayle Tooth. She is currently training to complete her first full marathon at Manitoba Marathon’s start line this Father’s Day.  With seven half marathons to her name, Gayle has a lot of advice to share on being present in your run, grateful for those around her and enjoying every experience.

How long have you been running?

In 2012, I went to cheer on my cousin at the first half marathon race in Grand Forks.  It was the first time I had ever gone to cheer her on.  When I got to the race pick up and to the finish line, I thought…wow, is this ever a great atmosphere: the excitement around the whole race was infectious.  I had just quit smoking six months prior and thought I could run the 10k next year to stay focused on not smoking.  So when the weather got nice in the spring of 2013 I started training for the 10k race in Grand Forks and got the running bug.  I went home [from that event] and decided I was going to run the half marathon at the Manitoba Marathon in June 2014. i signed up for the clinic training through the Running Room and haven’t stopped since.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I try to keep active all year long with playing different sports.  Hockey, curling, golf, slo-pitch and whatever else comes my way.  Six months ago I started a strength training boot-camp twice a week and love it.  It has definitely built up my strength and I have seen the results with my running being much stronger as well.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

Anyone who knows me…knows I’m a planner.  So I am always setting goals for myself.  Even for training runs, I always have a goal in mind, whether it is time, distance or just even how far I can run without take a walk break.   As for goals for race day, I always have a goal in mind when I start training, but those are constantly changing as I get stronger and more confident.  I can be very competitive with myself and am always challenging myself, but I also know when to throw those goals out the window and just enjoy!

What would be your dream race that you’d want to run?

My dream race would be to run the New York Marathon.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post run?

I usually reward myself with an after race beverage and a nap.  This year for running my first full, I have decided to treat myself to a spa day on the following Monday.

What advice would you give to other middle of the pack runners?

I am usually a middle of the pack/towards the back of the pack runner and I’m ok with that!  I am just proud of myself that I am out there and achieving goals I never thought I would reach.  My advice is just enjoy the run.  Have your three goals in mind…1) your top time goal 2) the goal that is achievable, 3) worst case scenario goal and if all else fails, sit back and enjoy the ride.  When I know that I am not going to reach my goal times, I keep running at a pace that I can enjoy, cheer every runner on that I pass or that passes me, high five the great volunteers and people that come out and finish when you finish.  Doing this always puts a smile on my face and it reminds me why I love to run and being part of this amazing running community.

 What advice would you give to someone who has just started running – why is running worth it?

Keep at it!  I never thought I would ever be a runner and here I am with seven half marathons under my belt and training for my first full marathon.   I always thought that running was very individual, which it is, but not in the way I thought it would be.  You are always challenging yourself to become better, go faster, go farther, but it is the friendships that I have made through running, that’s what keeps me going and makes me want to keep running.


École Stanley Knowles has been a proud member of the Champions in Training family for the last eight years. Their Marathon Club grows in size each year with an average of about 45 participating students. Their enthusiastic group of students is lead by Alexis Wisniewski who works really hard to motivate her students in challenging their own potential and taking on the challenge of a big race. She relies on the help of parents and teachers to cover the number of participating students, especially Ms. Nadya Kmet, and Ms. Vienna Hauser who work hard to make sure their club runs smoothly and safely.

What time of day does your club normally run? How did you come to land on this as the best time of day to meet?

Students are offered a variety of different sports and clubs to participate in throughout the year, Marathon Club being one of them. It starts up just after Spring Break and runs are every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from April until race day in June.  Practices start an hour before school in April and then eventually grow to an hour and a half before school starts to allow practice time to build up their endurance for the 10K race.  We found that Tuesdays and Thursdays were the best as it allowed a healthy balance between students’ essential training and other activities.  After school didn’t work as more students were bused home at the end of the day than bused to school at the beginning of the day.

Does your club have any “traditions” that you incorporate with your training sessions (special snack, team cheer, stretching routine, etc.)?

We start all practices with a different dynamic stretch warm-up activity. Maybe it’s leg lifts, squats, lunges, or high knees. This lasts about 5 minutes and then the route is explained.  Talks about avoiding injury are a common occurrence.  We are lucky enough that we have space in our school to have students run indoors during colder or wetter mornings.  Once the weather warms up as we inch closer to race day, runs take place out in the community and the route changes every Tuesday.  This allows the students a chance to judge and compare their current run with their last in terms of time or “feeling” of the run.  We start with giving the students a time which they need to run focusing on pacing and then increasing distances to achieve when runs start outside.

What is the average mileage that your run club completes per week? Do you have “homework” for the students to run away from run club meetings?

Many of our students participate in sports such as soccer and football outside of school hours and practice running drills with their teams.  Sometime practices overlap, and students are encouraged to use this time to better their running endurance and technique to avoid injury. We increase our miles every week by about .25 miles working up to 6 miles by June.

 Any hints you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

Change is good to help motivate students: running is a very mental sport; you need to be mentally strong to keep your body going for extended periods of time.  Changing routes, changing speeds, timing your students, playing warm up or cool down games help students stay engaged.  I also get people to run with a partner.  Friends help motivate each other and make the longer runs less daunting.

How do you encourage students to make healthy eating choices to supplement their training?

Nutrition is important to touch on.  Our students are very driven as Stanley Knowles is a sport heavy school.  It’s hard to get students to take nutrition seriously when they are young, but we always talk about foods to consume the night before the race as well as foods to consume and foods to avoid race day especially for students running the longer distances.

 What is your best memory of race day at the Manitoba Marathon?

Our students train to participate in the 10K or half marathon races, so the best memories are seeing my students cross the finish line in a race that most adults will never do.  They do it at such a young age and it is amazing to see them accomplish something that they will remember for a long time.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program? What is your best tip/advice for a school that is just starting a Champions in Training run club?

Champion in Training has helped Stanley Knowles Marathon club by providing resources for training and group organization as well as presentations on what it means to participate in the Manitoba Marathon.  It helps inspire our students and ease some fears of participating in such a large (non-school) event.

My best advice for those starting out with Champions in Training…get Kirsten to come in and give a presentation.  She pumps them up, answers questions, gives prizes, etc.!


By day, Kristy Hill is an extremely hard working member of Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization. In her spare time she is not only a volunteer firefighter in her home town and an amateur photographer,  but also an important member of the medical and communications teams at the Marathon. With her strong organizational skills, cool under pressure, infinite resourcefulness, and her humour, the Marathon is really lucky to have her on our team.

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

I first started volunteering for the marathon in January of 2015. I had just moved back to the Winnipeg area and was looking to get involved in something new. My co-worker Ian who was/is a volunteer for the marathon on the medical committee told me he was in the market for a side kick to keep him in line and to take notes. I’ve been volunteering on the committee ever since.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

 On race day I sit in the communications centre and help my team monitor the radios. I help to make sure that the medical staff on the course has everything they need and keep a general log of weather conditions, lead runner times and other important things. If someone gets hurt or needs to quit the race, I help make sure that they get dispatched the help they need.

The thing I like most about that position is that you really get a sense of what’s going on over the whole course. But I’ll admit, the 5am start time can be a little rough.

What motivates you to stay involved?

The Manitoba Marathon supports such a great cause and has such a great reputation. It’s awesome to be a part of something that a lot of people love to participate in. I love the buzz of the communications centre on race day – it’s really cool to see all the work and coordination that goes on behind the scenes – and the communications center is only a small part of the whole event!

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

Volunteering at the marathon has definitely encouraged me to fine tune my communication skills. When you’re talking on the radio trying to communicate to someone where to go because a person is injured you have to be clear and concise.

 What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

The Manitoba Marathon is a great team! If you’re a new volunteer and are unsure of what your role is or where to go, or just don’t know anyone – just find someone with a volunteer shirt and introduce yourself and ask questions. Everyone is SO friendly so don’t be shy and just dive in.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

I definitely wish that people knew how much work goes into the MB Marathon. A lot of people put in a lot of hours all year round to make sure that the event is a success.

 How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

Volunteering for the marathon has definitely influenced my personal life. I’ve met a really great group of people that make up the Marathons Medical Committee who have inspired me to take my own medical training a little further.





 Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, drinking DEWDROP™ Distilled water during exercise is essential if you want to get the most out of your workout, and feel good while you’re doing it.

“Your ability to perform athletically can decline with a very small amount of dehydration – just losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.”

DEWDROP™ Distilled water helps your body exercise efficiently. It lubricates your entire body – without it, you’re like the ‘Tin Man’ without his oil. It’s a vital part of the many chemical reactions in the body.

“If these reactions slow down then tissues heal slower, muscle recovery is slower and the body is not functioning at 100% efficiency.”

A well-hydrated athlete feels stronger and can work out longer and more effectively.

“The heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood to the body, and oxygen and nutrients can be transported more efficiently to the muscles you’re working during exercise,”

That means you’re going to have more energy, and the same exercises you struggled with when dehydrated, will seem much easier.

DEWDROP™ Distilled Water helps:

  • Prevents dehydration
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Maintain proper muscle tone.
  • Carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body.
  • Lubricates the areas around joints.
  • Acts as a shock absorber inside the eyes and spinal cord.
  • And much more…

As you prepare for this year’s Marathon, don’t forget to drink DEWDROP™ Distilled water before, during and after your workout.

DEWDROP™ Distilled water is the “Purest Water Possible”








Not only has Abduselam been the first place finisher in the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon for the past three years, in 2015 he set a new course record with a time of 1:05:05. When he isn’t a student at the University of Manitoba, he is training and competing with the Bisons Track and Field team. On top of all of that time and dedication, he is a great friend to the Manitoba Marathon, volunteering his time supporting the Champions in Training and Adopt a School programs. His dedication to the sport of running is awe inspiring and we look forward to seeing what he can do at the finish line this year at Investors Group Field.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

I think overall the race was difficult. I was still fresh into an injury at that point but I ran because I signed up. I think the most significantly tough thing about the race was that I did not feel good for the first half, I was already so tired and I was getting stitches in my side.

Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

For myself I think it is selfish to become lazy when it is so easy to successfully do something by just trying and giving it your all when all the opportunity is given to you.  I tell myself that there are other people doing more than I am to go where they want to go.

What do you do for cross-training?

Lots of core at least 3 to 5 days a week with some strength.

What would be your dream road race?

My dream races would be the world cross country championships, World half Marathon, and Olympic 10km.

How does your family/home life figure in to all of your training? How do you balance the two commitments?

It’s difficult to manage all of it but it gets done because it just has to be. During the school year I am rarely at home, the program I am in requires a lot of work and so I do the best I can to go home every day and sleep and hangout but there is a level of understanding that my family has and it is incredible.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/pre-race?

In all honestly I do not have one. I eat what I can when I can but that is not to say I do not watch what I eat. I do not eat junk or fast food but my nutrition is not what it should be.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post run?

My first three years as a Bison on the cross-country team I would use cupcakes as a reward. Every race (only 4 total races) I would bring 5 cupcakes to the meet and those five would represent 5 people to stick around or beat and however many I beat I would eat the cupcakes.

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

My peak mileage during marathon season would be 100-110 miles per week but mileage average during training season is 80+. My mileage during off-season is probably in the 50 or so, unless I am on a break, which would be zero for two weeks.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I have been extremely stubborn and I would not let myself heal properly so I did not really learn a method until this summer. I learned that as much as it is painful, you have to stop what you are doing and just let it be and rest. Eventually you’ll get back into the motion but it’s a process that takes weeks or months. Just rest and try not to think about how terrible you feel about not doing the thing you love. Slowly get back into it with the program that is provided for you by your coaches, athletic therapist or doctors.

What advice would you give to ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

I think it is smart and important to be a middle pack runner, you see all the moves that the front line is making and you don’t have to worry about the guys behind you. Watch how the front moves, give yourself enough time to get comfortable and develop a rhythm and eventually you will move up and get faster. Your strength is persistence.

I think it is important to know why you are running and what you want out of it. It is also important to understand that it takes time to be where you want even if others are better or at the level you want. We all work differently and at different paces but we all get there with a little bit of patience.

Why is running worth it? 

Running is worth it (and especially long distance) because it teaches you to be strong, aggressive and persistent:

The strength is all mental, you work out every day so your body is ready but if you are not there mentally and you think you can’t do something, you won’t.

You are aggressive because you mentally tell yourself you should be at this level or at this spot and you know your fit.

You are persistent because you still show up for runs and workout when you could find a new sport or just quit.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

I don’t plan that far ahead, at least not in a step-by-step calendar. I have my ultimate goal, which is Olympics or World Championships but with no specific time frame, and then I have my philosophy which is this:

Forget the past because it is already gone, you can’t change it. Don’t worry about the future because you don’t know it and it’s not here yet, and lastly, focus on now, the moment that makes you who you are and the future what you want it to be.















Not only do students at St. George School work hard in class, but it’s the running passion and dedication that the coaches see in the runners of the Running Club.  That’s what you call hard work! 

St. George School has been participating in the Countdown 26 Program for the past seventeen (plus) years under the guidance and leadership of the many staff members.  With a group of approximately thirty runners, the club becomes stronger and stronger each and every practice.  Goals are set and encouragement comes from one another.  Friendship becomes an integral part of running as support may not necessarily be from a teacher, but from a peer.

As a former Champions in Training School in 2014, the students’ enthusiasm for the sport of running has surged.  Students in grades four to eight begin training immediately following Spring Break.  They wake up bright and early at 8:00 a.m. and meet in the gym for practice 2-3 times a week.  They know what it means to complete TWENTY-SIX run sessions prior to the big day of running on Father’s Day in the Manitoba Marathon.  At times, they’ve had to weather the storm and brave the brisk cold wind or run laps inside because of a thunderstorm.  Regardless of what Mother Nature brings, word quickly spreads to how much fun running is and first timers are convinced by their peers to ‘give it a try’.  Students begin with a light warm-up and then begin hitting the pavement running in the school neighborhood.  To keep the motivation going, a snack is provided to refuel students’ appetites.  Many students find that a banana, orange, granola bar or juice is what helps them to keep an active mind in class.  The Champions in Training program teach students to persevere and “never give up” in what they set their minds on.

Although students in the Running Club know that running promotes physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, most set a goal to be able to complete the 2.6 km Super Run.  The most exciting and memorable moment for the runners is crossing the big arch at the finish line!

  • Elsie Yip, teacher & Run Club Leader











If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Aimee Vandale. A mother of two very young children, Aimee has been running for 10 years, beginning with the Learn to Run program at the Ottawa Running Room. A former competitive swimmer, Aimee has gone on to complete races of all distances, including ultramarathons. Now an active Pace Bunny, Aimee tells us what works for her to keep moving.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

This year I had the pleasure of running the Winnipeg Free Press 10K route with my Dad; I was 7 months pregnant. The heat is always a challenge but it was the perfect way the celebrate Father’s Day, spending time with my Dad.

Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

I am fortunate to have an amazing group of friends that I usually run with. So on days when it’s hard to get out of bed, I know that they will be expecting me to show up. I’m a huge believer in goal setting and remind myself of my goals and ‘why’ I’m going out for a run. When all else fails I have the classic line from my Dad ‘Suck it up Buttercup’, which always cracks me up and gets me out the door.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

Because I am a working mom, I have very limited extra time, I try to do cross-training at home. I do the basics, lunges, squats, core work and upper body.  I also enjoy Bikram yoga during low mileage months.

What would be your dream road race?

My dream race would be to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I would also love to run the London and New York Marathon and to complete the Goofy Challenge (5km, 10km, 21.2km and 42.2km) in Disney World.

How does your family/home life figure in to all of your training? How do you balance the two commitments?

I am fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband. We both know I am a better person when I run and exercise. My running days gets scheduled in weekly and it is made a priority. Sometimes I have to get a babysitter so I can get out and run. I usually sign up for Running Room clinics so I am accountable during Marathon training.  My running has changed since having children, before kids I would run up to 80 KMs a week, training for ultramarathons. Since then I have had to stream line my training and have had to focus on quality runs instead of quantity. My weekly goal is one tempo run, one long slow distance, one hill training day and one speed work day. At this point I do one marathon a year and the rest is half marathons.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/pre-race?

The week before a race I try to eat balanced healthy, bland meals. I focus hard on drinking loads of water. The day before a race I eat plain pasta with grated cheddar cheese for lunch.  I have an early dinner, usually grilled chicken breast with rice and broccoli.  The morning of race day I have two slices of peanut butter toast and a cup of coffee.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post run?

I try my best not to grant myself rewards after runs but I do have a weak spot for soft serve ice cream.

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

During peak marathon training I run between 60-70 KMs a week and in the off season it’s between 30-40 KMs.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I listen to my body: if I feel a niggle in my body I try to sort it out right away. I scale back on training (I don’t make up lost sessions). I use my foam roller, extra stretching, compression socks and extra rest days. This rule also applies to flus, colds and exhaustion: if I cannot have a quality run, it is more valuable to rest and recover rather than pushing through and causing more damage; leading to a longer recovery.

What advice would you give to ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

Set Goals! I’m a huge believer in goal settling. Create daily, weekly, monthly and long term goals. This helps to keep you motivated.

During race day I would recommend sticking to your own pace. It is so easy to get carried away with the faster runners and hitting a wall during your run. Rather, create a pace range. I create 3 finishing time scenarios: 1. ‘I’m having an incredible run’ pace, 2. ‘My planned goal’ pace or  3. ‘Things aren’t going as planned’ slow pace. I make sure I know the range of paces on my Garmin and try to stay in those parameters.

What is your most memorable race experience?

I would have to say it was completing the Comrades Ultramarathon in 2012. It’s an 89KM race from Durban to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa. Also, running the Fargo half-marathon this year, because I was 6 months pregnant.

When you think about setting goals for yourself, what’s the process like? How far in advance do you try to plan for?

I have been setting goals since my swimming days. My training revolves around my goals, I’m not one of those runners that can go for a run ‘just because’. I set short and long term goals. I write down my short term goals in my weekly schedule and have my long term goals posted on my fridge. I review my goals about every 6 months. I usually decide which races I would like to do for the year and plan accordingly. I also set five year goals and some dream goals too.







Annette Eibner may have stopped running races, but she sure hasn’t stopped running. For more than ten years, Annette has been one of the most driven, go-to volunteers that the Marathon is lucky enough to have. If you need anything at the expo, Annette is there to jump in and help. New runners at the start line have her to thank for answering their questions and helping to assuage their start line nerves. Annette: you are a ray of sunshine for runners, spectators and your fellow volunteers. Thank you for being so motivated and committed, year after year!

What jobs have you done over the years on race day?

I have been a host in the start area helping runners with questions and concerns, a course marshal on University Crescent. I then also worked at the start of the track directing runners to the Finish line. I have also been in the finish area helping the runners to the massage tent and refreshment area.  All of these volunteer positions are important because we get the chance to alleviate some of the runners’ anxiety and fears.

What motivates you to stay involved? 

Every year, my best volunteer role is at Race Kit Pick-up – I get to answer all the questions first time runners have as I was a ‘first time’ runner and frightened too.  When they leave with their package of reading material, bib & pins they are more confident they will do it.  First time runners who have driven from far away are so happy and relaxed after I have been able to show them where the start/finish is, where their dry clothing will be at the finish and even suggest a restaurant nearby for their pre-race supper.

What is one of your favorite race day memories?

There’s been a couple of times when I cheered runners on from the sidelines and would run alongside a tired runner to tell them they are doing great and they are almost at the finish line which had them smiling and got them motivated to keep running.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

I find I am more outgoing. It is easier to start a conversation with new people and help them; everyone is scared about something.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Smiling relaxes the runners: greet them and high five or cheer them on.  Show you care – ask them if they have questions or if you can help them with something. It’s all about them not us!


Oh February! The time of year where runners of all kinds, shapes and sizes, experienced and beginner decide to start their dedicated training for their upcoming run season. New Year’s resolutions for getting more fit, more skilled, more competitive and more accomplished are mainstream in a runner’s steadfast goal setting mentality. Naturally, athletes quickly move their focus from setting goals to striving for action as they begin to seek out the latest health and training tips to succeed.

Setting goals is always a process of defining the small steps in order to achieve the overall end goal.  What exactly should all runners consider from beginners all the way to a high level professional runner? Performance. Adaptation. Recovery.

Just start running right? Well, yes, you do need to start running in order to run a foot race. But consider this: a focused, consistent and manageable approach to an athlete’s nutrition and their behaviours toward eating can help enhance performance from poor to mediocre to excellent. With the precise energy requirements, timing of consumption, hydration and type of foods you put in your mouth, your practice runs will get you on track.

Where is a good place to start your nutritional focus? In your practice runs. Use this training season to have mini-race trials and understand how your body breaks down food to support you. In other words, does it feel digested? Do you feel energetic or sluggish? Before your run, during after? Is there that “tied knot” feeling in your tummy or do you feel hungry? Are you feeling more sore today than yesterday? Have you been sleeping?

Before you start adapting your whole eating career to the latest and greatest trendy diet, or George’s exact eating plan because he did really well last year, remember you are a unique individual with a fantastic and special digestive tract that digests specific foods in very unique ways just for you.  You may find success in eating exactly like someone else, you may not. So step one after actually starting to run is journal your eating habits, what and how you are digesting and practice, practice, practice.

If you understand YOUR digestion and fueling, you may notice that carbohydrates are your biggest friend, because FUEL. In today’s fast paced 24/7 culture you’ve likely heard of complex vs simple carbohydrates. Is one better than the other? Sometimes. In sport nutrition however, it is amount and timing of certain simple or complex carbohydrates that fuel you best. As you get closer to each run time, lighter more digestible foods like toast, fruit, smoothies or liquids you will notice likely feel better than oats, pasta, rice and quinoa.  This has to do with the time it takes your body to break down foods. So COMPLEX carbs are usually what we think is healthy food, (brown rice, quinoa, oats, protein bars, the cliché “pasta night before race time”) because it takes TIME to breakdown, thus providing your long-standing endurance energy and feeling less hungry for longer periods of time. SIMPLE carbs digest quickly, meaning they lift you up and drop energy for a short period of time but you also feel hungry earlier than complex. The marriage of the two in sport nutrition mimics a wave and mountain principle.







Your complex carbohydrate consumption should occur a few hours before activity so that you have endurance energy, but as you get closer to your practice or race, you need a spike, or a few spikes of small amounts of simple glucose or energy that will burn out just as fast but not completely deplete your complex stores.  Together, these two energy fuelling groups support you to either fly or fail.  It is all about timing, and that is exactly what an accredited Sport Nutritionist/ Dietitian can help with.


Now, if you are consuming foods at the right times AFTER your workout, you will likely be able to repair your tissues and even build a stronger body. Over-time, consistency in training and nutrition allows your body to adapt and grow to the demand you are asking of it. If you do not eat when your body has burned off the remainder of its fuel (whatever kind), your body is incredibly efficient and will literally start to eat your own muscle you are trying so hard to build and strengthen.  If your muscles are not getting the appropriate fuel at the right times, they will not adapt or recover well. They may do so at a very slow rate, which pushes back your next run until you have recovered.

 Potential Recovery  

An athlete’s potential to recover is eminent to their level of potential performance. The less sore you are the more you can do, the less tired and hungry you are the longer you can go. Significantly, this ties in an athlete not elevating their mileage too quickly, or missing runs and trying to make up for them WITHOUT considering they may need to also modify their regular nutrition habits to compensate for this change. The right amount of rest, training in certain weather conditions/clothing, hydration levels, electrolytes and training when you are sick are all factors along with “proper” nutrition techniques that you need to consider to maximize your consistent and ever building practice runs for the big day.

FUEL at the right time, with the right kinds of fuel, consistently.




Alex Paton is a Sport Nutrition & Wellness Specialist and owner of SHOCK Performance Nutrition. To read more about how she can help you reach your athletic potential through nutrition, visit her website at





A college student and cross country runner at NDSU, 19 year old Emma Kusch-Dahle is a longtime Manitoba Marathon participant consistently rating among our top finishing women. In 2016 she not only grabbed second place in the 2016 Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon but even more impressive she won the Canadian Junior National Championship in the 5,000m. Emma shares a bit about her experiences with the Marathon and some of her tips for success.

How long have you been running? 

I have been running since I was 12 but didn’t really start taking it seriously until I was 15.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

My toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon was the last mile coming into the stadium. I was in third place entering the stadium and knew I could do better. Even though I was tired I dug as deep as I could and remembered how hard I train and most importantly my dad who would be waiting to see my finish from the stands. Finishing third the past two years, I knew he would be proud if I got second. I gave it everything I had and finished second (out of the women) in a personal best time.

Do you have a personal mantra or other encouragement that keeps you going on days you don’t feel like going out to run?

On days when I don’t feel like running I tell myself to suck it up, honestly it works.

What do you do for cross-training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I don’t do a lot of cross training in the school year but in the summer my dad and I like to ride our bikes a lot.  We do a lot of rides in Assiniboine Park and on the Harte Trail. In past years we’ve biked to Headingley and back and have also biked to Lockport.

What would be your dream race that you’d want to run?

My dream race right now would have to be in an NCAA final in either the 5K or 10K in Eugene, Oregon. I think making it to the NCAA is every college athlete’s dream.

How does your family/home life/school figure in to all of your training? How do you balance all of your commitments? 

Balancing school, family and friends and training can be hard at times but I make it my priority to stay organized and plan out my day ahead of time. I also tell myself that I chose to do this so I can’t really complain.

Is there a particular reward you grant yourself post-race?

Post-race I love to get some sort of sweet treat, preferably frozen yogurt with a million toppings.

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

During cross country season I run between 55-70 miles per week. Track is a little less so probably 45-60 miles per week.  In my off-season of one week I don’t run one step.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

Number one method for injury prevention: listen to your body and don’t skip core.

What advice would you give to someone who has just started running– whether it be a young high-school student, or an older individual?  Why is running worth it?

My advice to someone who has just started running is to be patient. You may not see the results you want at first but if you keep at it and believe in yourself, you never know what you’ll achieve. Running is worth it because it makes you a stronger person all around.




“A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

Joseph Campbell

It all began with Richard Huybers starting his volunteer service with the Manitoba Marathon in 1988. A true runner at heart, Richard quickly became a member of the Board of Directors serving as a great ambassador and champion of the cause. Even after he became the Chair of the Manitoba Marathon Foundation, he continued to run in an event, be it solo in a longer event or joined by his children in a shorter distance.

As time went on, Richard continued to be involved with the Marathon in different capacities. His wife, Pam, also became involved taking on coordinating the Prize Miles in the early 2000s. As race day events evolved, the two of them became the ultimate dynamic duo coordinating and hosting the VIP tent. Richard and Pam graced that space with their own special touch, hosting great food and an atmosphere which was welcoming and respectful of our elite runners, sponsors and special guests.

In more recent years both of their children, Adam and Delaney, joined their parents on race day to help out. When the idea of hosting a bike valet for runners was born, they stepped up again, with daughter Delaney heading up the team. Much like their parents, Delaney and Adam require very little direction, are effective at gathering teams and always do a fantastic job, consistently providing great service to runners and useful feedback post event.

Energetic, positive and willing to do anything that is needed are just a few of the traits that make the Huybers family outstanding volunteer partners: they show up early and are the last to leave. They have been one of the Marathon’s stalwart friends by always being there to help with anything: carrying sandbags in the pouring rain, port-a-potty monitoring, driving all over the city picking up food for the volunteer tent, meeting and welcoming runners at the expo, and showing up for work calls.

We thank you, Richard, Pam, Delaney and Adam, for having all hallmarks of great volunteers and wonderful friends.











How to Set Running Goals That you can Actually Achieve

So it is officially 2017 and many of us are considering our New Year’s resolutions. This is the ideal time to try and set some running goals and lay out your plan for the upcoming season.  With a little effort you can put together a set of goals that you track, employ and make a reality.

 Think SMART: Many of you are likely already familiar with this acronym, but the best way to set goals that you can achieve are to make them S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-related. By setting goals that are SMART, you will know that they are possible and will keep you moving toward them.

Set a series of smaller goals that lead you to your big goal: If your goal is run your first full marathon by the end of the year, ensure that you pick your race as far in advance as you can. This will allow you to set smaller goals leading up to it. For a really great outline to help you create achievable goals and timelines, have a look at this article from Runners World. Achieving those smaller landmarks throughout the year will keep you encouraged and motivated to get to the end. If you are really driven, you can set yourself goals well past 2017 – short term goals lead to long term goals which lead to your annual goal and create a framework for your five and ten year goals.

Include non-running goals that fuel your running goals: If you are serious about hitting some aggressive goals, a great way to get there is to include items that support that outcome. Good examples of these are: sleeping 7-9 hours every night, doing strength/core training twice a week, ensuring you are eating healthy 80% of the time, etc. These daily actions will get your body into good form to achieve your goals.

Know what motivates you: Are you more driven by crossing a finish line at a new race or by scoring a PB at a race you have run before? Do you have the travel bug and like to run races in new cities? How about running and fundraising for a charity? Make sure your goal vibes with who you are and is achievable with your current life situation.

Make it personal: If you are not emotionally invested in your goal, you are less likely to achieve it. Close your eyes and think about your goal. Can you feel it? Can you see yourself achieving it? Then that is the goal for you. If it isn’t resonating, you might want to rethink it. Your heart needs to be in it to get your feet there.



Bairdmore Elementary School is an outstanding member of the CIT family: after being involved with the Manitoba Marathon for 30 years and running a program of 120 participants, Darrel Dyck runs an unstoppable program. With the support of 8-10 staff members who regularly attend to walk or run with the students, practices take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 AM sharp.

Mr. Dyck says that one of his favorite memories of race day is seeing former students now in their 20s on the race route saying hello and thanking him for getting them excited about running and training. Bairdmore Running Club is giving kids get a great start to the day, and an amazing start to a lifetime of health and fitness.

What does your run club routine with students look like?

Students do dynamic stretching as soon as they enter the gym with their pace partners, we discuss each route on a giant map, discuss ETA times for our goals, proper running posture, breathing and pace, and just before we go we have a tradition of chanting “Let’s Do This”! [This year] we will be adding a “nutritious snack run” where the school will purchase several choices of nutritious snacks for students who attend that run to enjoy after.

How do students progress through the run season?

We have 25 measured runs that begin at .72 of a mile and progressively work up to 4.5 miles. Each run has a nickname and we have made club running shirts with 10 of our favorite nicknamed runs on the back of the T-Shirt. We encourage all students to always do an extra run on the weekends with their family.

What are your best tips for a school that is just starting a Champions in Training run club?    

  • Don’t push too hard at the start: start with short runs that ALL runners do together (.70 mile or so) and send your early returning (fast) runners back out to hook up with others still returning or struggling and get them to encourage and pace them home. Have staff on route as well to take up the rear and coach struggling students back with walk run intervals.
  • Invite your Grade 3’s for a special 2K invitation run to experience it before they join in grade 4
  • Hold a special door prize draw just for those who come out
  • For each run post an achievable finishing time for all levels
  • Post a large digital clock outside near finish area for student s to see on return. We have an average time zone to achieve and a fast time zone for those who are enriched for all of our runs. Teaching them time management is important for later as they gain more experience and understand that each person has their own pace. We often repeat the same run back to back or later on to for students to take note of their improved times
  • For safety have volunteered students to patrol busy intersections on route and we have 3-5 bike riders as well in patrol vests to monitor all the runners. We later on will have 2-3 optional runs all in different lengths to suit each runner at different fitness level
  • Our ultimate goal that we remind them regularly is to “finish strong and finish healthy”

Any hints you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

We do random door prize draws for attendance or draw for finishing times, grade 4 first time runners door prize draw. Pajama Runs, Muffin Runs, Crazy Hat Runs Water Melon Runs, Partner Prediction Runs, 1 mile split time runs. Celebrating improved times. Nickname your runs and change them often.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?  

The title itself: our students all feel like champions when they get to the big day and finish strong.






George Steciuk is a four time participant at the Manitoba Marathon, first completing the Winnipeg Free Press 10K and going on to finish the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon three times. He started running only five years ago at the young age of 75. He plans to keep running for as long as he is able to. Right now he is running towards his 80th birthday next year, and tells us a bit about his training habits and his drive to keep going.

What was your toughest moment during the 2016 Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon?

Before each half marathon I work on my “why”: I have many people trying to discourage me from running because of my age. Saturday morning before the marathon I could barely get out of bed with an incredibly painful cramp in my left calf. Both legs really hurt and did not think I would be able to run the half. When Sunday morning came I felt I had no choice because I was committed and had a big “why”. During the run I was compensating [for my injured left leg] and as a result my right leg finally caught up with me so both legs were really hurting. I pushed myself because I had a lot of people counting on me. That was my “why” to push me onward: it took me longer than I had planned but I finished.

What does your training routine look like?

I do different things at the Reh-Fit all year at least three times a week I do my running on their track. I run now mostly to strengthen my heart muscles because I had open-heart surgery and a triple by-pass when I was 70. I step up my training for the half marathon towards the end of January and most of February up until the marathon. Prior to the event I will run outside for about 10K a couple of times to get the feel of the pavement. I don’t run in the marathon to win, I just do it for the joy of being able to finish and still be active at my age.

Do you have a dream race if you could pick anything to run?

Perhaps do the full marathon but I may be running out of time at my age because I will be 80 in 2017.

What is your method for injury prevention?

I train hard the last two months prior to the half marathon and I take my supplements faithfully to prevent injury. I do the 5 and 30 routine during my run: I run 5 minutes and a do a slow jog for 30 seconds. If I run into a problem I back down and take it easier.

Any advice for someone who is interested in starting running?

For people at my age I would recommend to start slowly one step at a time and build up the distance by a bit each week.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week?

I am nutrition conscious on a regular basis and rely strongly on the Optimal Nutritional Supplements I take faithfully every day. That is what gives me the energy to run.








Dean Favoni has been recruiting and leading volunteers from Dakota Collegiate to the Marathon finish line for over 25 years. A math teacher and basketball coach, Dean manages the team of over a 150 students and staff annually, bringing much needed support to this critical area on race day.

Dean, you are an amazing leader who influences the lives of high school students every day leading by example. Thank you for your amazing positive attitude and your continued dedication to the event. You are a superstar!

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?

My first Manitoba Marathon was in 1992. I was just hired to teach at Dakota Collegiate in September of 1991 and the school had already been volunteering since 1984. Biology teacher Jerry Ilchyna was the teacher organizer and he approached me and asked if I would be interested in helping recruit student volunteers and help organize the finish line. He was anticipating his retirement in a couple of years and wanted someone in place to take over. I owe a great deal of gratitude to Jerry for getting me involved.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

We help with stadium set up, stadium take down, track marshalling, medal presentation, assist in the recovery tent and act as ‘marathon huggers’ for any runners needing assistance until they can recover and walk on their own. This position is particularly enjoyable because of the energy, excitement and emotion of the finish line. To see the runners finish, accomplish a goal and to share it with the spectators in a positive, supportive and encouraging environment is very satisfying and fulfilling.

What motivates you to stay involved?

Marathon Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year. The event is a wonderful, positive display of healthy living, runners supporting runners, spectators supporting runners and volunteers supporting runners. Watching people cross the finish line and see the satisfaction of their efforts is awesome.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon?

I try to convince students at school that volunteering is a great way to give back and contribute to their community. I hope that they learn many new skills. I have seen many of them move out of their comfort zone to help runners and the personal growth many of them display will hopefully carry on to other parts of their lives.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?

Sign up and become part of this amazing team. Whether it is the start line, the finish line or on the course I believe that a significant percentage of the volunteers enjoy race day and are very excited to return. I would encourage the volunteers to try and see different aspects of the race.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?

I don’t know that many people realize that there is a Foundation and a charity that is associated with the race. As a past board member for six years, I know that the money raised go to a great cause and that many Manitobans living with an intellectual disability have benefitted from the funds generated by the Marathon.

How has your volunteer work influenced other areas of your life?

Volunteering with the Marathon and getting a significant portion of our student body involved has motivated me to get students involved in other activities/events. Students can learn so much about themselves and about others as they help at an athletic event, help as a peer tutor, help at an athletic clinic, help on grad committee or any school or community project.









Happy Thought School in East Selkirk is one of the most engaged run clubs in the Champions in Training family: they have participated for over ten years and currently have approximately 100 runners in the program! I had the chance to see how great their program is by joining them last spring for a presentation and a run around their beautiful school. Their energy and enthusiasm was awesome! Club leader, coach and inspiring student leader Natalie McConnell tells us a little about the Run Club and her awesome crew of participants. 

What time of day does your club normally run?

Our school runs on a balanced day. Marathon Club runners run their mile at 10:40 AM, enjoy a healthy snack following their run and head outside to enjoy the remainder of their recess. We are very fortunate at Happy Thought School to have a paved fitness trail around our school grounds that our students can run on.

Does your club have any “traditions” that you incorporate with your training sessions (special snack, team cheer, stretching routine, etc.)?

We love to celebrate our runners’ success with a BBQ luncheon following the completion of our program. Prior to the BBQ we hold a pep rally in the gym followed by runners running their last mile while our nonrunners cheer them on at the finish line.

What is your best Manitoba Marathon event memory?

Every year we attend the Manitoba Marathon to complete the Super Run. We load a bus at 5:30 AM and head into Winnipeg. The students are excited to be a part of such an amazing event.  Some highlights over the years….watching marathon runners cross the finish line, students excited to run with their families by their side and the peaceful ride back to the school as most students have fallen asleep.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?

The best part of the Champions in Training program has to be getting so many kids excited about running! Running is a lifelong activity that anyone can partake in with so many amazing health benefits.

Any hints you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

To motivate our students to join Marathon Club we educate them on the health benefits of running and how it’s our responsibility to take care of our body. During our training we use small motivational tools such as card runs, extra recess time and guest runners. We also incorporate healthy eating through our Health curriculum, in our Spotlight articles and with incentives throughout the year. To conclude our program we end with our BBQ wind up.

What is the average mileage that your run club completes per week? Do you have “homework” for the students to run away from run club meetings?

Our students run a mile a day at school for 26 days to complete a full marathon. We educate our students that our bodies aren’t prepared to run a full marathon because we are still growing and developing so we break it down into smaller chunks.

What is your best tip/advice for a school that is just starting a Champions in Training run club?

For new schools wanting to start a Champions in Training run club keep it fun, offer incentives along the way to keep the kids engaged and celebrate their success at the end of the program.  Every child is involved for different reasons. Some kids just love to run, some like to be with their friends, some are looking for health benefits and some are there for the incentives. Start with one to two people organizing the club and have everyone jump on board to support you.

Do you have any “shout outs” you would like to tell our readers about? Especially amazing volunteers (parents or teachers), administrative support, etc.?

We wouldn’t be able to run such an amazing program with this many students involved without the support from our incredible staff! We have numerous teachers and EAs who run and supervise the students throughout the program down to our caretakers who barbeque on the day of our wind up.  It is definitely a team effort!!




Heather with her husband Randy

and her daughter Hayden



Heather Magill, first place female in the 2016 Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Full Marathon shares some tips, highlights and encouragement for runners of all levels.

What was the toughest moment during the 2016 Manitoba Marathon?

First off I have to say I enjoyed running the course backwards, it was like a whole new course from the year before, but just as great! Toughest moment I would have to say were the last few miles, I think the weather was unseasonably humid so that played a factor. I had alternated water and Gatorade at almost every station along the course and for the first time in a race I took a wet sponge where they were available, that was a great help! It is the little things that make races like the Manitoba Marathon stand out. The race committee thought of everything!

Do you have an encouragement that keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like going out to run?

I try to come up with a plan for every training cycle and get into somewhat of a routine. A routine helps me stay accountable. But ever more important, is having a running buddy to meet on those cold, dark winter mornings. My buddy really helped get me out the door this past winter for marathon training. If I knew I was meeting Barb (my dedicated running buddy) that was all the encouragement I needed to get out of bed and out the door! I also think about the competition, am I working harder than them today?!

What do you do for cross training? Do you focus more on it in the off season or do you keep it consistent all year?

I wish I would say I do more cross training. I enjoy swimming and spin classes but if I only have a certain amount of time I’d rather spend it running. Core is a regular part of my routine, including lunges, squats, pull-ups and push-ups. Oiselle’s The Dozen is a great core workout anyone follow easily.

How does your family and home life figure into all of your training? How do you balance the two commitments?

This balance of family and running took a little while to figure out. I was lucky enough to marry a man that understands my passion for running (he can even tell if I haven’t run in a couple days, yes I get grumpy!). Running is my “thing” but he is my biggest supporter, even riding a bike alongside me during long runs just to spend some time together and help get me through. The biggest adjustment was after I had our daughter. She has been a blessing but it wasn’t until having her I realized just how selfish being a distance runner can be. Time management was a process I had to figure out, as well as the guilt associated with leaving them at home while I went out for a run. I have always been a morning person; now the alarm just goes off a little earlier. I have found getting my runs in before everyone is awake makes me feel better that I am not missing out on anything. Also the best investment has been in a jogging stroller. Pushing the jogger is my efficient way of getting in strength training while I am running, especially when running/pushing into a headwind. Our daughter is now 3 years old, and I find our time together while I run and she is in the jogger more of an adventure, she points out things I wouldn’t even notice if I were running by myself and occasional rest stops at the park are good for mom too. I am thankful to have figured out a balance of what works for our family and allows me time to continue pursuing my running goals.

What does your nutrition regimen look like race week/ pre-race?

I am not a nutritionist but I try to cook healthy meals for my family, especially on weeknights. Leading up to a race I just try to stay consistent, not really trying anything new. The week leading up to a marathon I will drink more electrolyte drinks. The night before, my ‘go-to dinner’ is 2 slices of pepperoni pizza OR tilapia and rice. I always bring a packet of apple cinnamon oatmeal with me for race morning to go with my coffee and electrolyte drink. Again, I am not a nutritionist; it’s just what works for me!

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? Mileage in the off season?

Weekly mileage can vary but I like to incorporate two workouts, a tempo run (4-8 miles at marathon/half marathon pace) and intervals (6x mile), a medium/ long run (12-15 miles) and a long run (18-24 miles) the other days are easy and one day may be off/rest day. Higher mileage weeks will be about 70+ miles. Off season I like to maintain 50-60 miles, still doing a workout and long run.

What is your number one method for injury prevention?

I have been very lucky since I graduated college in 2004 that I haven’t had any major injuries (even after being hit by a car while running in 2013). I have a piri formis (butt muscle) that bothers me at times but I am able to run through it with a little chiropractic assistance and stretching. My number one injury prevention would have to be taking ice baths after hard workouts and long runs. I notice a big difference in my recovery time and how my legs feel when I am taking them regularly. Following closely at number two would be foam rolling. Both ice baths and foam rolling can be uncomfortable and at times feel painful but well worth the discomfort to stay healthy and be able to run.

What advice would you give to the ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

To the ‘middle of the pack’ runner: “Great job, Keep it up!”  Keep challenging yourself; keep your head up, focus on your own goals and putting in the work to achieve them. We all have our own challenges and goals but we are all out there running the same distance. I am so impressed with everyone that crossed the finish line. Especially this past year at the Manitoba Marathon, everyone that crossed the finish line should be so proud of themselves. I was finishing the race as the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, I could see how much harder it was for those that had to run with the sun as well as the humidity, all while smiling out on the course and coming across the finish line. I love seeing people get into the sport of running at all ages, I enjoy sharing my experiences and hearing about other peoples. The running community is a large, supportive group of people sharing the same passion. Keep encouraging others around you and in turn you will achieve your goals too.



For a little over ten years, I have been a runner. I started with my first half marathon when a coworker decided that she needed a training partner and that I was her candidate of choice. We completed the Intrepid Dezine Half Marathon in 2006 with an abysmal time – we dragged ourselves through Irv’s Mile as I cried because I thought there was no way I was going to make it. But like all beginner runners know, we did indeed make it, and that feeling of exhilaration in completing a goal that I never thought I could reach was enough to hook me for the long haul. I got to experience this again in 2014 when I completed my first full marathon.
My story is every middle of the pack runner’s story: we work hard to train for an event and those runner’s endorphins swell. But inevitably the race ends and we have non-training seasons that we have to fight through to stay motivated. When you know you don’t have to hit a certain number of miles a week and its dark and cold outside and Netflix is calling your name… How do you keep it consistent to stay in shape and be ready for your next goal? Here are a few things that work for me – take the tips you like and leave the rest. Because we all need a little boost of encouragement now and again.
Tell yourself your story: Okay, gear up for the first of a few seemingly narcissistic tips… On days when I am shutting down during a run and really losing steam, I play a little autobiographical movie of the week in my head of my first half and full marathons. Remembering details of those moments – all of the miles, all of the pain (the moment at mile 24 when I grabbed a member of my cheering squad by the jacket and told him I was going to die) and then the triumph and the pride of hitting that finish line and knowing you made that happen all on your own. That boost of knowledge that I am capable of so much more than I thought keeps me fighting through those last training miles.
Watch someone else do it: When I am in need of a little reminder of the power of running, I visit my friend Google. There is a treasure trove of stories of people’s success just waiting to be shared. One of my favourites is the story of Dick and Rick Hoyt – the father who has pushed his son in over 1000 races. Or if this isn’t your cup of tea, watch literally the finish line of any race ever. The world is a big place and inspiration is everywhere.
Run on busy streets: Narcissistic tip #2… I am sure that I am not the only one who, when running on a road with a lot of traffic, will power through my one minute walk break because I feel like the people driving by me are watching. Pretty sure there is a level of universality on that one. However, another reason I run down more commercial streets is the buildings. The buildings with big, reflective windows. That’s right, I look at myself in the windows while I run. Not to check my hair or check if my outfit is on point. I do it to remind myself that I am a runner. I can look in those windows and see myself doing it. Remember that YOU are moving those legs; YOU are fulfilling your goals right now. It is a helpful way to be present in the moment and be proud of what you are accomplishing.
Enlist a running buddy: Nothing kicks your butt like a friend who will actually kick you in the butt. Being accountable to a partner can be the best way to both stick to a training schedule and push yourself to reaching your goals. If you don’t have a friend who is willing to tie up their laces with you, there are always running clinics and groups available at running stores that head out regularly and allow you to build a training schedule around it. Anyone who has run with one of these groups can tell you that these running communities are one of the most inclusive, kind and supportive things you can do for yourself as a runner. Give a little to a running buddy, get a lot in return!
Live in gratitude: When I am in need of a little reminder of how lucky I am to do what I do, I take a very specific run route. A few miles from my house is a long term care facility. Very often when I run past, I can see people outside being pushed by a loved one in a wheelchair out enjoying the day. It reminds me not to take my gift of health for granted. We are given capable bodies for a finite length of time and I don’t want to waste it. Find yourself a training route that provides you with a reminder that works for you and save it for the days you need an extra push.

Do you have any tips that you use to get you through a hard training session?

Share it with us on our Facebook page!



An Administrative Assistant with a passion for hiking, cycling and running, Brina joined this year as a new volunteer to the Marathon. A member of both our iTeam and our expo staff she was hardworking, bright and cheerful: just the kind of volunteer Manitoba Marathon is proud to get the chance to tell you about. Thank you Brina for joining us– welcome to the family!

What initially got you involved with the Manitoba Marathon as a volunteer?
This June was my first time volunteering with the Manitoba Marathon. I am a runner myself and have run many events in the city. What got me involved was that I wanted to run this event, but injury held me back. I still wanted to be a part of the event and thought why not volunteer my time to help out. I’m excited to stay involved with the Marathon for years to come. Everyone you meet motivates you to want to be a part of something so big in this city.

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?
I was asked if I would like to be a part of the iTeam group for race day. I was very happy to say yes and be more involved on race day. The part I enjoyed the most about the iTeam, was that I was able to be where the action was. In the crowd of the runners watching them get ready for the start.

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?
I loved watching the races take off and a few hours later make their way back to that finish line. I was lucky to be close to the finish line at the end to cheer runners on to push through to the end.

What do you think is the most important skill that you have gained volunteering with the Marathon? Has it influenced any other areas of your life?
The skill I have gained would be adaptability. Being able to move around and not just have one station to be in. See that others might need help and offer if. Be a helping hand where ever needed. Volunteering has also given me more confidence: I can be a shy person in my day to day live and this event took me out of my shell a bit.

What is the most important advice you could give to new volunteers with the Marathon?
Just enjoy each moment. You will meet great people, have fun and watch many people smile, laugh and cry.

What do you wish other people knew about the Manitoba Marathon and/or the Manitoba Marathon Foundation?
I wish other knew just how hard everyone involved works year round to make this event run as smoothly as it does. It’s a lot of work so without the volunteers the event wouldn’t be as great as it is.



Woodlands Elementary School



In their second year as a Champions woodlandsin Training (CIT) team, run club leaders Samantha Page and Morag Ivany tell us a bit about Woodlands School’s run club programs and their thoughts on some of the challenges they face with their participants. CIT had the pleasure of heading out to Woodlands to join the club for a meeting and a run around the neighbourhood last spring. Their students were really enthusiastic and enjoyed themselves and we hope to have another visit again this year!

What does the size of your CIT run club look like? 

In the fall, we start with about 35-40 students in running club. This is a combination of cross country runners as well as fun run club members. This number drastically reduces following cross country divisionals in October. The numbers pick up again in the spring in anticipation of the Run in the Park.

What time of day does your club normally run?

We meet and run during our second nutrition break (1:00-1:30 PM). The majority of our students take the bus to school, so before and after school meet ups are more difficult.

What is the average mileage that your run club completes per week? Do you have “homework” for the students to run away from run club meetings?

So far, our kids have been fair weather runners. We hope to transition them into all season runners. In the fall and spring, the kids run about 2 km, 3 times per week.

What do you think is the best part of the Champions in Training program?

The best part about the Champions in Training Program is the Jog in the Park. This is a great event for kids to look forward to. Not all kids are competitive, so a fun run is a great way to get kids involved. Not all families can afford the entry fees associated with the Manitoba Marathon, so a free event is great!

Any suggestions you can give on keeping the students motivated and staying engaged in the run club?

We will be hosting a winter fun run- “The Holly Jolly Jog” at our school in December. We hope that this gets our participation back up for the winter.

Bradley Keefe

Bradley Keefe, winner of the 2016 Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Full Marathon answers a few questions for us about his training, home life and how he brings them together to create success.

What was your best or most memorable race?

My favorite race performance was in 2014 when I ran the Twin Cities marathon in 2:32:54 – my personal best time in that event. My good friend and training partner Brian Walker (2014 MB marathon champ) was there to cheer me on which was so nice. This race is probably the highlight of my running career!

What is your weekly mileage in peak marathon training season? What is your mileage in your off-season?

I work hard most of the year. I normally pick two or three key races and train for these races for 10-15 weeks; I may run races leading in to my goal race. I normally do three weeks of hard training and one week easy. My hard weeks for the marathon will be 80-95 miles a week and my rest week is about two-thirds of that, so maybe 50-60 miles. If my goal race is a half-marathon then I train 70-85 miles on my hard weeks and 50-60 miles on rest week of. As for weekly structure, I do two to three workouts during the week and one long run. But [when I am not training for a race] I do two workouts/interval sessions a week since I am getting older and have a hard time recovering from three.

 How does your family and home life figure in to all of your training? Can you tell us how you balance the two commitments?

I think that two specific things are the key: the first is that I simply love to run and enjoy the process so this makes it easy to get out the door – it is something I look forward to each day. The second is my wife’s passion for dance: she is an accomplished dancer and her passion for dance is equal to my passion for running. She and I have always understood this about each other and work together to find the time for me to run and for her to dance. It would be very easy to stop these activities with all the things in our lives but we both love what we do.

 How do you get yourself motivated on days when you don’t feel like going out to run?

I have a busy life with my wife, three kids and a career as a CPA but the main reason I continue to train is that I really enjoy the process. Many of my friends and training partners from University have stopped running over the years but I have kept going. I’m sure many of the athletes I trained with wonder how and why I train so much still but I really do simply love the ‘process’ or training. I don’t really enjoy racing as much: I enjoy the challenge of putting together a good block of training to get ready for my goal race day. I enjoy the weekly easy runs, intervals, tempos and long run. The feeling of having a good run provides me with a huge sense of accomplishment which drives me to continue to run each and every day.

 Do you have a dream race if you could pick anything to run?

I have run most of my “dream” races already: I always wanted to run the Boston and Chicago marathons and I have completed them in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The only remaining race I’d like to run is the New York City half marathon.

 What is your number one method for injury prevention?

That is funny question for me since I have been fortunate to stay healthy in my running career. I do think I monitor my body well which helps me stay healthy. I get massages when training hard and stretch.

Any advice for ‘middle of the pack’ runners?

My advice to middle pack runners is simple: consistency. Getting better at running to me is about working hard and putting in the time. I have never considered myself much of a runner or very talented at running but my desire to improve and love for running keep me working hard.  I stay consistent and don’t make many excuses to not run (and I am sure I could make many excuses). Many of my training partners and friends have always said I am “Mr. Consistent”.



With the barrage of technology we have available to us as runners, it is easy sometimes to lose ourselves in the digital maze. It is also easy to forget that some of these apps can provide us with much needed motivation to keep our training fresh. As we dash into colder weather, it can be easier to get parked on the couch than it is to tie up our runners: here are five apps that you can find for your mobile device to freshen up your runs.

Charity Miles


Charity miles is free app that allows users to track their miles and makes a donation to a selected charity for each one you complete: running and walking earns 25 cents per mile, while biking will earn them 10 cents per mile. It is totally free and all you have to do is download the app and pick your charity. Currently 37 charities are part of the program, including Habitat for Humanity, the Nature Conservancy, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Girls on the Run.



Smashrun’s free app pairs with either your mobile device or your GPS run device (easily syncs with Garmin, TomTom, Magellan or Nike+) to track your mileage and training history. It motivates you in two ways: the first is by pitting your results against other users and friends, allowing for virtual bragging rights.  The second motivation is the digital badges you earn for running. Receive your Early Bird badge by completing ten runs before 7:00 AM, or snag the Past Diddy by completing a full marathon in 4:15, matching Sean Combs’ New York Marathon time.

Zombies, run!


With the tagline “Run in the real world. Become a hero in another”, this app (free to start but with yearly memberships starting at $2.99) promises something different. As you run with your mobile device, you can listen to your own music while receiving details of your “mission”. Your mileage allows you to build up a stock of supplies to rebuild your base, and of course humanity. During your run you will find yourself chased by zombies: bust out that speed interval work to survive. With over a million users, Zombies, run! is the biggest running fitness game ever created. Strap on your runners and save the earth!


Rock my run

RockMyRun is treasure trove of music that is specifically curated to match your BPM: it’s “body driven music” adjusts the speed of your tunes to match the speed of your run (there are also a ton of preset stations with a mixed variety of speeds). The basic version of this site is free, but there are of course a variety of paid versions as well to enhance features. Find new music and get moving!



Volunteer image Nancy







                                                     Nancy Gajdosik

Nancy is among a few of Manitoba Marathon’s longest running volunteers: she has been gracing us with her energy and support for 34 years. You may have seen her smiling face at the finish line leading the medal distribution and runner shadow program alongside her team partner Andrea Ladouceur. Thank you Nancy: you are a ray of sunshine and we couldn’t do what we do without you!

When did you first start volunteering with Manitoba Marathon and what initially got you involved?      

My story goes back to 1982 when, as a ‘still fit’ and very much ‘younger-than-now’ running enthusiast, as a member of the MRA I accepted Marilyn (Mouse) Fraser’s invitation to volunteer at Marathon Race Headquarters.  It was fun!  It was also inspiring and enlightening spending time with so many elite and ordinary runners.  It was that volunteering experience that motivated me to train for and enter our Manitoba Half Marathon the following year. My goal was to finish in less than two hours… and I came in at 1:58:33!  I was over the moon with joy and didn’t want to leave the infield!

What job do you do on race day? What do you particularly enjoy about that position?

In the early years I helped in a variety of areas before landing one of the best, most enjoyable jobs in our Marathon… welcoming into the finish area our full marathoners and ensuring they are awarded their well-earned medals before being directed (sometimes escorted!) into their recovery area. Back in the ’80s I was a finish line coordinator responsible for huggers and timers. Irv Goldstein recommended me for the Marathon Board and I was the first chair of the School Promotions Committee.  1983 was the year Jerry Ilchyna and I first involved the Dakota Collegiate high school students who have served the Marathon admirably ever since. For a few years I was the media coordinator helping ensure our media reps knew where to go and helping get them special human interest items for their reporting. Helping in race headquarters, in all our various locations was a given.  Data entry was a huge job back then and over the years so many treasured friendships have been made.  Irv Goldstein also got me onto the Technical Committee. After so many years I guess I’ve ‘landed’ in the infield looking after the medals and helping with our team of Shadows.  So many familiar faces return year after year… runners as well as volunteers and it truly is like ‘coming home’.

What motivates you to stay involved?  

I love, admire and respect the Manitoba Marathon and feel gratitude for being a part of the marathon family. The Manitoba Marathon has been an important part of my life for many years. My 5 children were all involved in some capacity.  John and Betty Robertson were dear friends and it was a special privilege having them both as part of our team, hanging medals and making the full marathon finishers feel special.  I love the camaraderie, the enthusiasm, and as long as I’m able, as long as the marathon will still have me, I hope to continue.  I remember saying to Scott Taylor the year following completing my first half marathon in 1983, as he was leaning over one of the railings watching me tearing around in the infield… “Scotty…running the Marathon is more fun than running the marathon!” To which he replied, “Can I quote you on that?”  

Do you have a great memory from a race day to share?  

There is never any one great memory…only a lifetime of great memories. The year we had not one, but two cardiac incidents and I was in the finish area when the second man went down. While our medical team provided him with the care he needed to save his life I was privileged to support his wife.  That was a profound time and I don’t know if it was the nurse in me, the mother in me…or just the good marathon volunteer in me that helped most. I later met a young woman who ended up being his daughter and in the course of conversation this incident came up. She was grateful and happy to report that her father was doing very well.

Being a Marathon volunteer is a privilege.  We have so many areas needing to be properly staffed, before, during and even following the Marathon.  Each and every volunteer contributes in his or her own way to the successful outcome and can be proud of the role they played in making that happen.