Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes

Since their wings have got rusted, 
you know the angels wanna wear my red shoes.
And I won't get any older, 
now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.
Elvis Costello

My red shoes.
Salomon Gortex XA Pro
This year I ran a whole bunch of miles for a whole bunch of reasons. I ran more miles in 2015 than any year previous. I experienced the bliss of success and the sting of defeat.  I was side tracked with injury and I happy-danced over a few finish lines. It was a good year and I am grateful for your part in making it so.

In thanks for your friendship, your readership, I give you a kaleidoscope of one runner's year in review.  I expect it is much like yours.

I ran along twisty trails, through thick bush, and tall grasslands. I ran lone-wolf into bitter wind at 6AM on freakishly cold streets. I slipped on black ice and I splashed through brown slush. I ran in large cheery groups with laughter ringing and warmth radiating. I ran with a single friend where the the talk was joyful and meaningful. I ran on secret trails laid skinny by fatbikers. I ran under the stars and over the rivers. I ran through silence and I ran through raw emotion. I ran in pain and I ran in jubilance. I lay witness to the sun's rising on the Assiniboine River and I marvelled in the light of a new day born.

I ran to forget and I ran to remember. I ran away and I ran towards.  I ran with images of a Syrian toddler washed up on shore and I sobbed quietly on those secret trails. I ran with images of the Paris bombing and I seethed and clenched my fists on those same trails. I ran with thoughts of friends battling cancer and I felt helpless.  I ran to find solutions to problems arising. I ran to calm the jagged edges of the daily grind. I ran to find inner peace when chaos abounded.

I ran with grace in the company of you. I thank you for your companionship along this endless trail. In time and distance we learn to recognize where we are on the path and we understand it's alright. We understand no matter how challenging, how insurmountable, how steep, we can do this trail, one step at a time.

Remember friends, there's many angels with rusted wings, broken wings, that would give their life to run in your red shoes. Be kind to those angels for they are broken. They say they want your red shoes, but what they really want is your kindness.

We are each other's angels. 
Chuck Brodsky

I so look forward to the next opportunity to run with you. I wish you all the happiest of trails in 2016.

It's a good day to be alive,


Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Spaces We Run Through

The Spaces We Run Through
Michael Anderson
(Published with permission)
Michael Anderson
Lost Soul Ultra 2015
Lethbridge, Alberta
I went to church today
Not in a building
But in the spaces the buildings have not consumed

Rows of pews replaced by trees
A ribbon in the snow my aisle

The crunch of steps my prayer
My sweat and breath the offering
I think of life, and love, and loss

I return home

Post script: I love this little poem by Michael Anderson. I love the simplicity and the sentiment. I love the tenderness, the purity, the sweetness. I love the image created by the line " the spaces the buildings have not consumed". These spaces we run through, mindless, mindful, full of hope and promise. Images of our daughters and sons, mothers and fathers; in these spaces, where buildings have not consumed. We follow the ribbon; the endless ribbon. We think of life and love and loss.  I love how we return home refreshed, revived, renewed. Ready for another run through spaces; spaces the building have not consumed.  

Thanks you Michael for your spirit and your gift; you make us whole.

It's a good day to be alive,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

38 Names

November 20th marked the 16th annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance. It also marks the day I learned transphobic violence is responsible for the death of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of transgendered people worldwide.  It marks the day I learned 271 transgendered people ranging in age from 15 to 64 were murdered in the last 12 months. It marks the day I learned every three days a transgendered person, most often a trans-women of colour, is murdered at the hands of a transphobic man.  It marks the day I first understood the extent of hate some direct towards this community.

I get it and I weep.

Our friend Bobbi had the honour of reading 38 names aloud at the Winnipeg Transgender Day of Remembrance. Many other names were read at the assembly, but Bobbi read 38.  It was her duty and her right. She read thirty-eight names aloud with a strong voice. She honoured their lives. She gave them voice. She gave them light. She comforted their families and their loved ones. She acknowledged their hopes and dreams. Bobbi read 38 names with a strong voice...

...and 38 resonates in my heart.

This week I will run 38 miles with strong legs. It's not much, hardly a blip, but it's something. It shows I care. Please join me.

Take 38 steps, walk 38 blocks, take 38 deep breaths, climb 38 stairs, build 38 transgendered snowmen, commit 38 acts of random kindness, give freely 38 hugs, smile at 38 strangers, donate 38 dollars.  Just do something 38 this week and, for heaven's sake, be sure to tell Bobbi.

It's a good day to be alive.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

we run in circles, we run in lemming loops

we run in circles
short tight circles
lemming loops 
as miles click by and by

we run tight circles when the mind is troubled 
we run happy in this moment
round and round 
spokes on a wheel 
fast and blurred

thoughts become not-quite-focused
thoughts become our heart
our mind
our bone
our soul

we run in circles
we soar free
we run happy in this moment

It's a good day to be alive,


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon Race Report

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. 

Omar Khayyam

Today we run happy.  

Today we dance. 

Today we marvel at life. 

Today we are omnipotent.

Today the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon knocked it out of the park; an Encarnacion grand slam no less. 

The toilet lineups were crazy, but did you know there were dozens of potties outside?

Water cups were sparse for the last few miles, but did you know David Fielder (aka Spiderman) and Melissa Budd (aka BUFF) were there to sustain you? 

And that amazing teenage cheer leader crew at mile 12, and the rock band at mile 12.5, and Tim MacKay whistling ... who needs water when we have spirit?

Johnny Sticky Buns were teeny-tiny, but did you know there was yogurt, coffee, bananas, tea, hot chocolate, and a whole lot more?

Today I ran happy in the company of 2900 spirited souls.  We ran as one in the moment. We were spirited, chatty, together as one. Today we ran happy and tomorrow we will bask in the after glow. 

At mile 4 we listen to the sound of our feet .. we are a machine.

At mile 8 we listen to the sound of our heart... we are a force.

At mile 12 we listen to the sound of our soul... we are in the moment. 

And it sucks.

And we embrace the suck.

And it is beautiful.

And it is quiet.

We focus on heart, legs, lungs, loved ones, whatever it takes to sustain. We dig deep and then we dig deeper.

Our goal becomes one weighted step after another, and then another, and another, and another.

We step over the line. 

And we choke. 

And we cry. 

And we embrace.

And we ring the bell.

And we savour the beauty of that moment.

We have achieved and we are overwhelmed with happieness.

Today we run happy.

Today we dance.

Today we live in the moment.

And we know the moment is fleeting.

And we know it will fade.

And we think Aynslie, of John, of Jo, of our fathers, of our mothers, of our beloved, of many others.

We run for them today.

And we whisper I love you to spirits passing.

And we say, thanks be to you.

It's all we can do.

It's a good day to be alive,


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon; all systems 'go'.

The fourth annual Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon is brought to you by Race Director extraordinaire, Jonathan Torchia and his amazing Race Crew. I have had the pleasure of pacing all four events and from my perspective this race improves tenfold each and every year. It has the feel of a big city race and yet Jonathan makes it personal and homegrown. He greets all volunteers by first name and with a handshake.  He is the quintessential Type A personality, never sitting, rarely sleeping, and forever encouraging.  

I am pacing a 2 hour ten minute group and like you, I'm anxious and excited about race day. Like you, I have trained for months in difficult conditions. Like you, I have suffered through injury and grimaced through pain. Like you, I have run many hundreds of lonely miles in anticipation of race day. 

Like you, I am strong. 

Like you, I am ready.

Like you, I am overwhelmed with happiness! 

Look for me on race day... I'm the little guy with a big smile.

A full race report will be posted after the event. It's a good day to be alive.


See Martial and Mike Run

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Now I am Not

I've run about 15 miles in the last six weeks.  Someone once said not running is akin to the continual presence of absence. I can attest to that; yes indeed, I do feel absent, because I am absent.

I have become sedentary and bloated.  My mind screams. My cardio suffers. My strength wains.  I am a runner sidelined and we know this is a bad place. Mentally I suffer. Physically I wither.

Spiritually I am diminished. 

I am on the mend (I had a successful 3.5 mile run this morning). I expect another week at Stephanie's Little Shop of Pain will get me rolling once again.  Rolling, stretching. Stretching, rolling endlessly. 

I so wanted the Lemming Loop. It has whispered my name for months. I trained rigorously in heat and hills. 40, 50, 60, 70 lonely miles a week. I was strong and I was confident. Now I am .... well, now I am not.

Next year my friends, next year.

I had the pleasure of watching Lemming Loop from the sideline with a camera. Here's a little tease.

It's a good day to be alive.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Living Prairie Museum, home of the Lemming Loop

The goal of Living Prairie Museum is to provide awareness and
conservation of natural areas, specifically tall grass prairie,
through environmental education.

The Living Prairie Museum is the best kept secret in Winnipeg! It's a 30 acer tall grass prairie preserve that is accessed at 2795 Ness Avenue.  Its origin hails back to 1968 when the International Biological Program surveyed 60 Manitoba sites for native prairie plant communities. Ironically, the largest and most pristine of the lot was found nestled within a St. James residential neighbourhood. The City of Winnipeg established The Living Prairie Museum in 1976 largely due to the advocacy of then 87 year old Pete DeWet. Considering only 1/20 of 1% of original tall grass prairie remains, it is indeed a gem.

The Living Prairie Museum is the location of the much anticipated Lemming Loop trail run. Runners compete against the clock to see how many laps (loops) they can complete within their chosen times of 3, 6,12, or 24 hours. The Lemming Loop is brought to you by the good folks at  Trail Run Manitoba. The 24 hour runners start on October 2 and the 12, 6, and 3 hour runners start on October 3. I've signed up for the 6 hour event and hope to break the back of 50 km. Come join me!

A question for Trail Run Manitoba... Is the Lemming Loop named in honour of the dozens of lemmings that scurry along the trail or is it a comment on the lemming-like runners following one another in endless circles?  Only Dwayne Sandall knows for sure.

The old loop measures 1.6 miles, but Trail Run Manitoba has reconfigured the course to measure 2 miles. The new 2 mile course will ready for the 2015 event and will be posted shortly. I ran 13 loops of the old course last Sunday to get a feel for the terrain. There's very little elevation change, in fact it's as flat as ...umm... a prairie? 

The single track trail weaves through gorgeous patches of purplish (or it it more a rust tone?) tall grass. Spectacular indigenous plants of all colours and shapes ripple wave-like in the light breeze. There's dozens of off-shoot trails and without the expert guidance of ultra-marathoners Fiona, Bobbi, and Maria I surely would have lost my way in the maze.  

We transition off the grasslands onto a fairytale path through a forest dense with Poplar and Oak. Little Red Riding Hood would feel safe in these woods. The path winds hither and tither until once again we're back on the grasslands swimming through waist deep vegetation. We veer towards a grove of trees and follow this path, mindlessly, quietly, taking in the moment as though it were our last breath. We are struck with the sheer beauty of this moment.

We end the loop with a few glugs of water, a light bite, a little chit-chat. And we're off again, and again, and again, lemming-like.

To register go here, now. You know you want to.

It's a good day to be alive, running in endless circles.


PS... This just in from Dale Nesbitt of Trail Run Manitoba... The Lemming Loop refers to a try-a-trail race back near the beginning of Trail Run Manitoba where all the runners missed a turn and got lost. Some runners actually saw the sign which told them to turn, but instead chose to follow the runner in front of them. The TRM logo enshrines this ignoble moment in MB running history by depicting a lemming running away from the arrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Canicross with Scout the Rescue Dog

My name is Scout and I'm a rescue dog. I rescue human. I get human off couch. Sometimes I walk human and sometimes I run human.

I like run better.

I'm a Wheaten Terrier but human calls me Wheaten Terrorist. Funny human.

Speaking of running, I'm up to 6 miles and my goal is 10. I just started running with human in June! Not bad for a scruffy rescue dog.

I got lost one day and ended up at the Animal Services Agency. Very nice humans looked after me, but I was lonely. I needed to rescue someone. One day a human came to visit and I chose this human.

Like I said, I'm a rescue dog and I take my job seriously! There's three fun-da-men-tal (big word for a dog!) rules of rescue.

My job is to:
  1. love human unconditionally,
  2. greet human at the door with a wagging tail,
  3. always be happy,
  4. love human unconditionally (that's 4 but, I'm a dog so math is not so good).
Not a bad gig, eh?

If you need rescuing visit my pals at the Animal Service Agency. They will rescue you good!

I made a video of me and human running, or canicross (yup, another big word).  Hope you like it.

Bark bark bark bark or, in human-speak ....It's a good day to be alive!


PS... pump up the volume!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Run Happy, Run Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon (5k 10k)

Yowzers, of all the races I have paced the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon 2015 takes the cake!

Much loved Brooks representative Kathy Turner, WFPS race director Jonathan Torchia, and City Park Runners owner/operator Erick Oland have combined forces to create the WFPS Run Happy Pace Team.

Fifteen pacers from a field of 50 applicants will pace all levels of runners ranging from blistering fast to let's getter-done.  All pacers will be fully decked out with matching Brooks shirts, shorts, and kicks! Pretty sweet deal indeed. 

I have had the good fortune of pacing all three previous WFPS Half Marathons so I am over-the-moon pleased to once again pace this year's event.

When asked by Jonathan why I want to be a pacer I replied...

... because running makes me happy and I like to share the happiness...

And when pressed a little further I added...

...I want to be a role model for men and women my age. If I can do it, surely they can too...

Proceeds from the WFPS Half Marathon (5k & 10k) support The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a cause near and dear to Ted's Run for Literacy. Many of you know Ted Swain died from cardiac complications in 2009.  Ted's legend lives on, but oh how he is missed.

Just as Ted's Run for Literacy believes the cycle of childhood poverty can be broken, Jonathan and his crew see a Manitoba free of heart disease and stroke. 

You better not procrastinate at the REGISTER NOW button too long. This race will fill up soon. 

What are you waiting for? 

Come run happy with me!

It's a good day to be alive.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rumblings From A Grumpy Old Man

I sometimes fear I am transitioning to the 'grumpy old man' phase of life.  A time when the line separating all that was blurs with all that will be.  It's a longing for all things lost and a fear for what awaits. It's a realization that time passes, that rust never sleeps*. We spiral forward with nothing to ground us other than fleeting memories of once upon a time.  It's about no longer understanding the ways of the world.

Take the other day for instance.

I was 20 miles into a 27 mile run. It was a pleasant run and I was feeling strong coming off a menacing MCL injury. The sun was a-shining and the birds a-tweeting. All was well in the world and I was mindful in that moment

I am running on the street and she's running on the trail 20 paces away. She is in her mid-twenties and I'm just south of 60. Our strength and pace are evenly matched.  We are aware of each other's presence, but we run silently lost in our own thoughts, side-by-side 20 paces away, young and not-so-young, blissfully minding our own business. Running.

I barely notice the voice at first. It is pleasant and cheery, and full of laughter. I look over to the young woman, 20 paces off to the side, and realize she's in an animated conversation on her hands-free phone.

She is talking on the phone to her boyfriend. I know it's her boyfriend because the talk is sweet and intimate (and becoming more intimate by the moment). I don't think she realizes how loud she speaks. She's now yelling into the phone.

I try to pick up my pace to move out of range, but after 21 miles my reserves are low. I consider slowing my pace and letting her move ahead but, call it stubbornness, that just doesn't seem like an option. I keep my pace steady hoping she will either A) hang up or B) veer off course.

Neither happened. Like white on rice, she remains a consistent 20 paces off my right shoulder.

I feel my bliss melt like wax on a candle.

I can't speed up. I won't slow down. I'm lost in this inane conversation that is way too intimate and way too sweet for public discourse. I have now been an unwilling participant in this conversation for 6 miles. Sixty minutes of dull pain permeates my brain, time I will never, ever regain.

I consider asking her to slow down just for a few minutes to allow me time to put some distance between us.  It seems like a reasonable request? After all, she's probably unaware that I'm hearing this embarrassingly intimate conversation. Surely she will apologize like a good Canadian and slow her pace for a few minutes.



I slowed my pace, and pulled up alongside with a friendly smile.

"Excuse me, you're probably not aware that I can hear your entire conversation. If you slowed down for a couple of minutes I can get ahead and you can continue your conversation."

"I like this pace, why should I slow down?" she demanded.

"It's just a suggestion, thanks anyway" I said as I picked up my pace.

She then started yelling at me and defending her right, her entitlement, to speak on the phone.

I replied a second time "It's just a suggestion. It's not a problem" and ran ahead.

Her conversation continued for several more minutes and then stopped abruptly. I heard her trot up along my left shoulder several paces behind. She followed me for a minute or two in silence and then clipped my right side as she buzzed past, never to be heard, mercifully, again.

Maybe she does have a right to take away another's peace and enjoyment. Or maybe it just the way I was raised; to be considerate of others, to be polite, to be respectful, to care, to empathize.

Then again, maybe I'm just becoming a grumpy old man.

Either way, it's a good day to be alive.


* Neil Young

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Manitoba Marathon Race Report

Every step a thought of you
Every breath a prayer for you
Every heartbeat summons my pride for you

My mantra, for my sister Judith, who in trekking the Portugal Camino in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees C. It got me through some rough patches today but I'm sure people running alongside were a little worried when I started saying it out loud.

Mile 24, Ted's Run for Literacy Water Station (photo credit Bobbi Nicol)
The Manitoba Marathon was a grand success.  The race crew and board of directors should stand proud for a job well done.  Our new race director, Rachel Munday tweaked a few changes thereby improving on previous races considerably. I speak for many runners when I say "I cannot wait to see what Munday will pull out of her hat for next year's event".  It is evident that a runner is at the helm of this storied event now 37 years strong. The future looks bright for the Manitoba Marathon.

If  Munday could just learn to dial the heat back a bit...

The event started with a Carrie Howells's blog post A Trail Runner Hits the Road posted on Trail Run Manitoba yesterday evening.  Howell speaks of her love of trails and explains the significance of road running when her true passion lies in trail running.  She speaks of dreams, blood, and tears. She talks about the significance of revisiting past fears.  She ends with "...and we will all tow the line together". This beautiful statement evokes a powerful image and hits the nail on the head.

Hats off to local running ambassador Jeff Vince for his completion of his 25th Manitoba Marathon and 65th marathon. I had the pleasure to run with Jeff for a mile today and we talked about the importance of leadership for senior men.

I commented "So many men our age retire to the couch and a bottle"

and Jeff added without a blink, "And then to the grave".

I enjoy Jeff's company, perhaps it's his humbleness and quiet nature that I find appealing. He leads with gentleness and models an active lifestyle.

F the C (photo credit Bobbi Nicol)
There is group I will call Jo's angels. What an amazing group of individuals, all crazy happy and positive. Jo and her merry band of angels were with me at key points along the course cheering my name madly. My heart pumped strong and my crooked back straightened in their presence.   They epitomize Howell's we all tow the line together.

I also had the pleasure of running with Ed Toews. Ed is running 20 marathons in 15 months to raise awareness and cash for Siloam Mission. Ed was hit by a vehicle at age 14 resulting in multiple surgeries. The accident left him with a permanent curvature of the spine and one shorter leg.

Ed shared "I'm sort of cheating, I'm actually running 26 marathons in 15 months."

I replied "I think that's reverse cheating." and we laughed.

Like Jeff Vince, Ed Toews is another amazing senior ambassador. And the best news? Ed promised a guest blog on See Mike Run (if he ever stops running long enough to pound out a story).

Bert Blackbird and Melissa Budd, finish line. (photo credit unknown)
An then there is the incredible ultra marathoner Bert Blackbird who completed today's marathon after recently running 362 kilometers from Regina to Brandon to raise awareness and cash for Huntington's disease research. Bert trained on the big hill outside of Brandon for 24 consecutive hours to prepare for the Brandon - Regina run. Local ultrarunner Melissa Budd joined Bert for about 70 miles and has promised a story for See Mike Run. Stay tuned.

Can U Director Roger Berrington providing support at mile 24
Ted's Run for Literacy water station.(photo credit Jen Kirkwood)
And then there is my friend, some say nephew, David Fielder who completed his 99th marathon today. This of course does not include the dozens of ultras he has under his belt. David is an inspiration to many. We love him dearly and we admire his determination.

Ted's Run for Literacy was offered the privilege to organize the Mile 24 water station. Aldo Furlan of many, many hats managed to corral about 20 volunteers to manage the station from 6:30 AM to 1PM. They provided excellent support and stayed on course after closing to provide nutrition to the real heros; those that push it to the end knowing the course is closed and the stands will be empty. They run on grit and heart. I am proud of my TRL peeps for their diversity, their passion, and their belief in a dream so big it staggers the imagination. Ted's Run for Literacy, the little race that could, audaciously dreams of a day when we will break the cycle of childhood poverty. Through literacy, nutrition, and sport we will realize our dream. You can help; mark September 27th in your calendar and visit

You know it friends now and friends waiting to be, it's a good day to be alive.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Taper Prayer

i pray for you adventurous marathoners

i pray for your passion
i pray you will be happy
i pray you will find what you search
i pray for your strength
i pray you will be loved
i pray you will love
i pray your thirst will be quenched
i pray you understand the gift
i pray for your rest
i pray you will laugh
and laugh
and laugh
i pray you run well
i pray you will run like the wind
i pray you will be strong
i pray forever you will run

it's a good day to be alive


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Putting Her Best Foot Forward, a guest blog by Mike Still

A Q & A with new Manitoba Marathon race director Rachel Munday by Mike Still.

Manitoba Marathon Race Director, Rachel Munday, second from right.
While she grew up a dancer, Munday made the transition to the road later down the line, and has now completed 20 full-half marathons and four full marathons, her first of which was The Manitoba.

Rachel Munday has had quite a lasting impact on the running community over the past decade, and now she will get the chance to shine as executive director of Manitoba’s premiere running event, the Manitoba Marathon, which takes place on June 21.

Originally starting as a part time worker at the Running Room in 2005, Munday rose quickly, moving on to the events co-ordinator position, and then area and regional manager. In that time she has made her name known and gained valuable opportunities as both a leader and race director.

While she grew up as a dancer, Munday made the transition to the road later in life, and has now completed over 20 full-half marathons and four full marathons, her first of which was Manitoba. When now-former executive director Shirley Lumb stepped down back in December, Munday was among those who applied for the position, and ultimately got it in March.

Ted's Run for Literacy board member (Youth Outreach), running coach, and sports reporter for The Manitoban , Mike Still recently had the opportunity to sit down with Munday to discuss her thoughts on the race, as well as how things have progressed since she was appointed.

Mike Still: What was the interview process like for you? How long did it take, and when did you ultimately find out you were the one who was being appointed?

Rachel Munday: As far as the interview process goes, there was a call out to the public for applications. I don’t know specifically how many people responded, but I know there were quite a few. I had an initial interview in January with select members of the board. That interview probably was just over an hour. Then, I was called back a few weeks later for a second interview, again with select members of the board.

My final interview actually was quite comprehensive, in February. That one actually was pretty fun, because it was with the full board, so there was 16 people present at my final interview, and I actually had to do a 10-minute PowerPoint, and then [a second] five-minute PowerPoint presentation to the full board. It was really interesting because as a board they’re very engaged and they’re very capable people, and yet they’ve never had to hire for this position. Their expectations of who they had here were very high.

I got the word in mid-March, shortly after that final interview, and I just felt like it was the right opportunity at the right time.

M: Since you’ve been given the position, what other opportunities have you had to go to other places, and check out other major races, and how they do things?

Munday: For me, over the years as a runner, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to races abroad. Your perspective is very different when you’re there as a runner, as opposed to a race director, who’s looking at the small details that most people don’t see.

I have had the opportunity historically to go to Twin Cities [Minneapolis Marathon] and be a part of that event, and see their course, and amazing community involvement, and that kind of thing, and of course, I’ve run the Marine Corps Marathon, which was spectacular. Toronto Waterfront I’ve run as well. As far as a race director, I did have the opportunity to go down to Fargo on Mother’s Day weekend, specifically to do recon of their event, and their course and expo, and kind of just participate in their activities and see them.

Then, this past week I went to Calgary, which was the National Race Directors’ Summit. That was really amazing, to have the opportunity to listen to panels, everything from marketing, to sustainability, as far as giving back to the community and running a green race, which we have been doing for years.

To connect with race directors who have events the same size as ours, and then even bigger, and what they did to take their race to the next level, and to see the elite programs, and their operations, it was really good.

M: What are a couple of the things that you’re hoping to do this year that may be exciting for people who are registering?

Munday: We’re excited about lots of things. We’ve moved the start lines this year to Chancellor Matheson Dr., just in front of Investors Group Field. We feel like when you arrive on race day, it’s really going to be like that festival atmosphere, instead of having it spread over the entire footprint of University Crescent, it’s going to be condensed.

We’ve actually closed Chancellor Matheson entirely to road traffic, including race vehicles, so it’s only pedestrian traffic all day long, and diverted our parking lot program, so that no buses will be letting people off on Chancellor Matheson.

In that starting area, we’ve added full marathon-specific toilets that will be fenced off, and we’ve really worked hard to improve our clothing drop off program.
Then, we’ve added 10 kilometer medals. It’s still not a competitive race yet, and going forward the course will be certified, but not yet, but we are giving medals to all the participants, so they’ll get medals and shirts.

We’ve added food tents in the relay zones for participants when they finish their leg of the race. That way they can have a small snack while they’re waiting for the bus to take them back to university. For the ones that aren’t, they’ll have the opportunity to have some post-race refreshment before they head back to their car.

We’ve added the full marathon in-field recovery, so when the full marathoners finish, they’ll be directed to the in-field of the track, and we have some electrolyte replacement by Popeyes. Pita Pit has come on board, and they’ve donated what’s called a snowball, which is a chocolate covered frozen protein treat.

We’re going to have dry clothes pick up in the in-field for all the full marathoners, and massage is being provided by Massage Athletica. Full marathoners won’t be limited to what’s in that area, it’s more of a post-race relax area.

At the finish line we’ve added selfie and photo walls. We’ve got some fun signs, and wipe-off boards, and that kind of thing, so you can take pictures with your friends, or that random guy who helped you get to the finish line who you’ve never met before, but ran 26 miles with.

We’ve added more pace bunnies, and complimentary registration for them, and we’ve added bands.
We have like 30 bands on the course, and really working hard to enhance the cheer zones with our charity partners, so we have 15 charity partners on the course that have cheer zones.
Nothing major as far as route changes or time changes or anything like that this year, but more focused on runner experience.

M: Ultimately, what is your long-term vision for the Manitoba Marathon?

Munday: I would say that the long-term vision is to make this a destination race. We want people to come to Winnipeg, and travel here just like they’re travelling to other places. Just like I have travelled to the Twin Cities, or Washington, or Toronto for an event, I want people to travel here, and I want them to know that we put on a world class event, which we do.

I want them to know that Winnipeg has so much to offer. We have so many beautiful landmarks on our route, and going forward we’ll likely capture some of the newer landmarks of the city.
It’s such a great place to run. Our elevation is a maximum of 10 feet, which is ridiculous. We just have so much to offer, so I think that my vision is to create that destination event, where people are getting the full experience, and where they’re just going to want to come back.

Mike Still
Ted's Run for Literacy Youth Outreach

With the Manitoba Marathon right here in our back yard, and Rachel Munday at its helm, it's a good day to be alive.

Mike B

Monday, June 1, 2015

Life in Transition, part 2 (a guest blog by Bobbi Nicol)

The above picture in my mind says it all, Courage is not something that we show every day, me included, and we should. I have made a promise to myself that I will try to be courageous every day from this point forward, how about you?

When I wrote that first post, Life in Transitionnot quite 2 months ago, I honestly did not know what to expect. I have been living in fear of people finding out for so long it kind of wears on your psyche and you always think the worst will happen, while in the back of your mind you hope for the best. Those feeling alone have kept me hidden away for more years than I want to admit, feelings that unfortunately many struggle with in one form or another. Why is it so difficult for people to see you for the person you are instead of the society desired and portrayed norm? If you have known me for any length of time you would definitely understand that I am a little out of the box, a bit of an oddity some may say. I just believe I am me; wouldn’t it be nice if the world was a little more understanding and allowed everybody to be more themselves? I think so.

I guess a formal introduction is in order, my name is Bobbi, and many of you have known me as Bob or also affectionately known as Barefoot Bob to some. Since that first post came out where I shared some of my struggles and personal thoughts to give you all a bit of an inside look, an introduction so to speak, I have  been overwhelmed with the support that has been shown. Even though I never divulged who I was, it didn’t seem to matter; I was just another runner with a story to tell, someone who was trying to find her way, to find peace between body and soul. That post gave me the strength to start; whether I was accepted or not, I knew when I finished writing it that I needed to continue with my journey.

Since that post I have made huge strides in my transition, well that’s an understatement for sure, in comparison I went from running my first 5km to running and completing a 100 miler in a matter of two months. Or at least that is what it feels like. I have done so much in that short time, more than I ever thought possible a year ago, for that matter even six months ago. I went from a small select few knowing, to coming out publicly and going full time and presenting as a woman which is coming up on completing my first month. I have seen so much compassion and most important, the willingness to learn and understand. For that I am the most grateful, for knowledge is power and the key to understanding and compassion.  Ignorance and hiding yourself is the path to hate and miscommunication. Would the world not be a better place with a little more understanding and compassion, yes I think so. For that reason I encourage you to ask questions if you have them, I will try my best to answer them, I know this is new to many of you. I implore you to research into those things that you do not understand or may be uncomfortable with as you may be missing something beautiful. For does not a rose grow and bloom within a plant of thorns, a butterfly spreads its wings after emerging from a chrysalis, yes they do.

With that all out of the way, I wanted to share with you a few running related experiences I have had since that first post, as this is a running blog (Thank you Mike for letting me do this) and a darn good one at that.

For those of you that know me, running trails is my preference and one of my local favorites is the Spruce Woods Ultra put on by a Manitoba Trail Running Legend, Dwayne Sandall, who I am lucky enough to call a friend. I was unable to run this year, due to a series of unfortunate events, but I was able to volunteer at one of the aid stations which in my mind are just as much fun. I got to see all the runners (many of which I knew and were seeing me for the first time) at least twice as they came through our aid station, the show of support was amazing throughout the night and into the next day. If nothing else the words of encouragement will remain with me for years to come. Spending that 24 hours out in the woods, ‘man’-ing (for lack of a better word J ) the aid station still brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart despite the negative temps that were apparent and very evident throughout the night. A big thanks to Rheal, Debbie and the rest of the Aid Station 1/6 crew that accepted me for who I am. Also, seeing all the runners with their big smiles and the looks of determination made it extra special to me.

Having fun at the Race Expo on Saturday, (left to right) Laura, Nancy, Kelvin, Shannon and me.
Last weekend I travelled to Ottawa to run my first race event presenting as Bobbi, I was running the marathon, totally under trained (well in fact no training at all) and just wanting to have a bit of fun. It’s funny, I am used to getting a little bit of attention for the way I run, but this was different. I guess it is more acceptable to run barefoot as a boy, seems kind of strange but to run a marathon barefoot as a girl is apparently totally crazy. At least that was some of the comments I was getting, and running with my friend Nancy garnered more attention for she was running in a pair of Luna Sandals, which apparently is just as crazy. Two crazy girls out for a run…yes why not.
Nancy and I rocking the course.
We were not running for a time (this was by far my slowest marathon ever but also the one I am most proud of), nor were we running for anyone other than for ourselves. I heard lots of comments from not only other runners about my lack of footwear, but volunteers and the spectators alike, my favorite was by far this one. As I was passing a little girl cheering on all the runners loudly with her mom, she saw me coming and quickly got her mom’s attention and yelled out while pointing and bouncing up and down, “Mommy, mommy, look at that beautiful girl, she is barefoot just like me, can I run like that too?” I looked down and there she was jumping up and down barefoot on the sidewalk, which just brought the biggest smile to my face, I had to divert to go give her a high five. Even though I was at first worried about people being shocked or upset if they realized I was transgender, once the gun went at the start that all just faded away and I was just happy to be me. 

No matter what I felt, I was just another girl out for a run with thousands of her friends and that was the best feeling in the world.

Two of the amazing views as we crossed from Quebec to Ontario.
Heading back to Ontario from Quebec, first marathon encompassing two provinces.
The whole day was an experience beyond my expectations, I was so happy to experience it with some amazing friends and at such a fantastically supported event. Crossing that finish line at the end of the race was amazing and even though the photo evidence does not show me smiling (I was seriously looking for the food tent), my heart and soul were definitely beaming as they were one.

Where’s that food tent…sooo rungry!

I want to thank the running community, my amazing family and my many friends for rallying around me, supporting me and seeing me for who I am, not just someone who is different and strange, I am not someone to be discarded nor forgotten…I am just me.
Hope to see you out on the trails…

It’s a good day to be alive…….

Bobbi Nicol