Sunday, July 30, 2017

I have a Dream

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

John Lennon


I dream of a Winnipeg Autumn marathon.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the Manitoba full marathon. In fact, I believe it is the premier running event in Winnipeg and, as a community of runners, we should run proudly alongside this event. When executive director, Rachel Munday took the reins two short years ago the marathon had stalled out and was losing runners to Fargo ND in droves. Sadly, it had digressed to a maudling 2-star, 2-bit race that was more about the half-marathon than the full.

Fortunately, Munday's creativity and abundant energy has breathed new life into this fine event and has upped it to a 4 stars and, knowing Munday, she won't stop until it's reached the status of Minneapolis or Chicago!

Why should we be proud of the Manitoba Marathon?

Since its inception in 1979 the Manitoba Marathon has raised millions to assist people live independent lifes, to move them out of institutions into the community. Whether it's a $200 grant to buy IKEA furniture to furnish a room in a group home or $1000 to buy specialized medical equipment, the Manitoba Marathon Foundation is there to support our citizens lead productive, meaningful, and independent lives. It's our marathon, our little bump on the prairie, our hometown pride.

Rachel Munday presenting a cheque to Jessica to assist her in living independently
(Photo credit, unknown)
Winnipeg is ripe for a second full marathon either in September or October.  In a recent See Mike Run poll asking: Would you support a fall marathon in Winnipeg 92% replied yes, 5% said no, and 3% were unsure. 

The 10, 10 & 30, Running Room sponsored event almost got it right, but they came up short by 12 km. On the plus side it's in the fall, it's very well organized, they've worked through the red tape and street permits, but why stop at 30 km when 42 is the prefered choice?

I have a dream (with apologies and reverence to Martin Luther King).

See Mike Run proposes an entirely new marathon from the ground up with no hidden agendas or egos. I dream of a marathon that inhales the full diversity of our peg City. One that leaves us breathless (literally and figuratively) and attracts international elite runners along with plebs like me.

I do not want a start line in the burbs (been there, done that). I do not want to run down old wealth, Wellington Crescent or through Assiniboine Park (been there, done that). I want to start at Portage and Main and finish at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
(photo credit unknown, CMHR 

I want to weave through the Exchange and over the Esplanade Riel. I want to run through the French Quarter to the sound of fiddles and bagpipes. I want to be cheered down Main Street, past Thunder Bird House and Neechi Common with sacred drums and jingle dancers. I want to make noise on grand old Selkirk Avenue with local activist, Michael Champaigne ringing the Bell Tower for peace and tolerance.

Esplanade Riel
(photo credit unknown)

I want to breathe in the Exchange with the option of stopping for a pint of 1919 at Little Brown Jug. I want to stop traffic at Portage and Main and be dwarfed in the magnificence of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

I have a dream.

I want to run along grand old Scotia Avenue, through magnificent Kildonan Park, over the Chief Peguis bridge and return along Kildonan Parkway, through the achingly beautiful Elmwood cemetery. I want to traverse the almost unknown Disraeli foot bridge and return via historic North Point Douglas along Anabella (named after a certain woman of the evening) and past Jordan Van Sewell's funky art studio on the banks of the Red River.

I have a dream.

We need leaders in our community to step forward. We need the Manitoba Runner's Association to take a stand, to provide leadership and experience.  We need the movers and shakers of the running community to join the dream, people like WPS race director Nick Paulette, WFPS race director, Jonathan Torchia, and MB Marathon executive director, Rachel Munday to combine their talent and expertise to make this happen.  We need people like Box Cox of the Winnipeg Free Press (a fine runner in his own right) to grab onto the idea and run with the concept. We need our mayor Brian Bowman to recognize the possibility and make it happen.  We need corporate sponsorship with deep pockets such as Lulu Lemon or Goodlife to take a risk and join the dream.

I have a dream.

And we need you, dear reader, to make your thoughts known.  We need to talk it up on our runs, during the post run coffee, in the evening over wine.  We need you to step up to the plate, make some noise, and make it happen.

I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

It's a good day to be alive.

Mike