Runners rejoice as Manitoba Marathon returns

The Manitoba Marathon is returning to the University of Manitoba campus Sunday with just under 3,000 entrants set to lace up their running shoes and hit the road.

The annual event is usually held on Father’s Day weekend, but was cancelled in 2020 and postponed this past spring due to the pandemic.

Normally, between 10-12,000 runners would be gearing up to compete but this year changes had to be made to account for COVID-19 restrictions.

“Lots of changes, certainly everything at the course, everything at the start line, the number of volunteers, the number of runners, how big the waves are … pretty much everything is different this year,” said Manitoba Marathon Executive Director Rachel Munday.

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Munday told Global News that while things are definitely smaller this year, that hasn’t changed the interest.

“The energy is still there, people are really excited.”

Runners are being asked not to come too early on race day due to differences in wave sizes.

“Come about 45 minutes before your start time. You can have lots of time to drop your bag and go to the washroom or whatever you need to do and then walk over to the start line,” said Munday.

Here are the start times for Sunday:

  • Full Marathon in one wave at 8 a.m.
  • Relay in one wave at 8 a.m.
  • Half Marathon in two waves at 8:30 and 9 a.m.
  • 10K in two waves at 9:30 and 10 a.m.
  • Super Run in one wave at 10:30 a.m.

There will be an area for people to access drinking water but runners are being advised to bring their own water bottles.

“We’re encouraging people to bring their own water bottles — our aid stations will be very different and we won’t be handing out cups on the course,” said Munday.

Additionally, masks will be required where it’s appropriate, especially in high-density areas.

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For those unable to attend the event in person, Munday says they will be live streaming the start and finish this year on Facebook.

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For those participating, important information from the Manitoba Marathon website includes:

  • All participants and volunteers will be required to wear masks in the start and finish line areas with adequate social distancing provided in start line corrals and staging areas. Runners are also asked to wear their masks in crowded areas on the course.
  • Start line corral capacity will be limited based on Public Health orders for outdoor group sizes
  • Start times will be adjusted to create greater distance between runners along the course
  • The Full Marathon/Relay Course has been modified to utilize one route that supports all events; this will allow for a reduced footprint of city streets, city services and police support as well as reduced volunteer numbers
  • Please note due to the reduced capacity of this year’s race there will not be PACERS provided.
  • Sanitation stations will be made available at start and finish areas as well as at aid stations along the course and with all washroom facilities
  • Operations at aid stations along course will be modified to be “refill stations only” in order to reduce touch points including the removal of all disposable cups. Bring your own refillable water bottle.
  • All public shuttle buses will be cancelled for 2021
  • No expo will be held; participant kit pickup is scheduled to allow for distancing and reduced contact
  • In order to maintain safety and best practices for social distancing, all children under the age of 12 must run accompanied by an adult in the same distance
  • All Awards and Elite programs have been temporarily suspended for 2021
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