Marathon out to promote purple power

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:59 AM ET

For its 27th annual edition, organizers of the Manitoba Marathon have issued a challenge to Manitobans to "Lace It Up."

Organizers are asking the runners to show their support of the Manitoba Marathon and the people who live with an intellectual disability by wearing a purple shoelace on Father's Day, June 19.

The Manitoba Marathon will be selling the purple laces for a toonie each, with the proceeds going to the Association for Community Living-Manitoba.

"Breast cancer has their pink ribbon, but no one has done a purple shoelace," said Richard Huybers, Manitoba Marathon Foundation chairperson.

"We just thought that this was an affordable way to fund raise."

"Let's all go the distance and leave a legacy of fitness, family and caring," Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said yesterday at the official Manitoba Marathon kick-off media conference at City Hall.

Honorary chairman for this year's event is Manitoba Marathon founding father John Robertson, who has been the driving force since it began in 1978, although health problems have prevented him from participating the last few years.

To honour Robertson, the organizers have established Robbie's Runners this year. For individual donations of $200 or relay team donations of $1,500, runners will receive a long-sleeve Robbie's Runners T-shirt and a ticket to the traditional carbo brunch hosted by Robertson and his wife Betty. The relay teams will have their team name printed on the backs of their shirts.

"We have a good shot at attracting a lot of people who haven't run before or not for some time," said Robertson.

Organizers also announced plans to expand the Start Smart Park and Ride program, with double the number of buses carrying runners to the start lines from the parking lots.

Since 1978, the Manitoba Marathon has raised more than $4,000,000 to support Manitobans who live with an intellectual disability. More than 350 projects have been started and supported, benefiting more than 1,200 individuals. ACLM plans to open at least 50 new homes over the next two years. Among its other projects is a housing project for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Last year's Manitoba Marathon attracted 11,363 runners to its six events. Organizers are looking for a 10% increase.


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