WINNIPEG – With less than two weeks until the Manitoba Marathon, thousands of runners are pounding the pavement training for their race.
Including, 25 students from Hedges Middle School running club. The team practices twice a week and will take part in the Marathon Super Run on June 19th.
To help get them there 680 CJOB and Global Winnipeg, the official media sponsors of the 2016 Manitoba Marathon, have teamed up with Skechers to sponsor the running club.
On Tuesday, the roughly 30 members were awarded a brand new pair of running shoes from Skechers, as well as transportation to and from the marathon. Their entrance fees will also be covered.
Teacher and Running Coach Rowland Hayward tells 680 CJOB this is a once in a life time opportunity.
“I don’t think I’ll ever have this again or they’ll ever have this again, where someone walks up and says here’s you go, here’s a free pair of shoes and good luck in your run. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Hayward says there’s a big need for these shoes.
“There’s one boy, he’s got some old skater shoes that don’t tie up and every time we run, they fall off. When I heard we got this, I thought this is for this kid. If no one else is super pumped then this is great for him, just to have this opportunity.”
Manitoba Marathon Executive Director Rachel Mundy says they’ve been doing this program for three years and this is the first time they chose a middle school.
“Sometimes this age groups gets overlooked. When we’re looking at giving back to the kids, typically we’ve done younger kids, but with middle school age kids we find that this can be a time that we lose them. In adolescence, there’s a lot reasons kids stop being active. It may be body image, it may be a social factor, it may be stress and home or monetary. We felt like this was an opportunity for us to show kids in middle school that they count too,” says Mundy.
Two time Manitoba half marathon champion and record holder Abdusalem Yussuf was also on hand to present the students with their new pair of shoes and shared some of his running tips.
If you’re running in your first race, Yussuf says don’t walk, even if you’re tired.
“If you’re tired, run slower. Getting back up, it’s not going to just be bad during the race, but the next few days will be a lot more painful. I did that my first two years of running and my third year I kept running, slowed down if I have to, but my legs felt better. You’ll feel a lot better, too. You realize you can actually do it. Try and stay mentally on top and always go for the person in front of you.”
The Manitoba Marathon is June 19th and the University of Manitoba.