Before last weekend, I had never been to Winnipeg or anywhere in Manitoba. Bu when the good people at the Manitoba Marathon wanted someone from iRun to cover their event, with Canada 150, it just seemed like the right time to visit the Prairies.
Although Winnipeg might not be among your top running destinations, as I discovered, the city and this event is definitely worth the trek. Here’s a run down on what you need to know and why you need to run in Winnipeg.
Warm and Welcoming
Friendly Manitoba, is the province’s tag line and the folks in Winnipeg take that to heart. Runners in general are a friendly and welcoming group, but in Winnipeg, everyone you meet is that way. Imagine race day in a city where only runners live and that’s what Manitoba’s race weekend is like. You can’t run (or walk) past people on the street without saying hello. From the bartenders to the retailers enga
Score Your BQ
Yes, this marathon is a Boston Qualifier. Manitoba is one of the Prairie provinces, and while Winnipeg residents will tell you it’s not as flat as Saskatchewan, if you live anywhere but Saskatoon, you’ll find it’s a flat and fast course. Plus as a mid-sided event with some 14,000 runners it’s not as overwhelming as larger city races which can be a bonus for some who prefer less of a crowd.
All in the Family
After running 39 years on Father’s Day, the Manitoba Marathon has become family tradition. Along with many dads, daughters and sons, more then 4,000 runners participate in the 2.6 mile SuperRun. The race begins shortly after the half marathon and finishes with all the excitement of the marathon, inside the Investors Group stadium, home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The Beer Mile
If you run the half marathon like I did, you’ll get a chance to grab a quick brew, then continue running! The course weaves through some of the city’s most picturesque neighbourhoods, and for several years a couple of homeowners have offered beer to runners so you won’t have to wait until you cross the finish line to celebrate. In a way, getting that taste is just what’s needed to get you to raising your celebratory brew that much faster.
Finish in a CFL Stadium
There are few races that finish inside a stadium. For the first time this year, runners finished their race inside the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s Stadium. Crossing the finish line at any race feels like a victory but this makes that feeling a little more sweet. Plus the path you need to walk to get to your bagels and bananas takes you out onto the field. I’m not a football fan, but you definitely don’t have to be to have the appreciation of being on the same playing field as pro athletes. Needless to say, it’s a pretty cool experience.
Don’t Forget The Post Race
Winnipeg’s food scene is rich with diversity and constantly evolving. In fact, many of the city’s best chefs are locals who trained at culinary institutes around the globe then returned to their hometown and became restaurant owners. From tapas at Segovia to French-inspired cooking at the Peasant Cookery, locals are enjoying a taste of global fare without ever leaving home. Along with the thriving food scene, the city is also home to a growing number of craft breweries. All the more to enjoy at your post-race celebration!