More than 300 runners warmed up to run for safety Friday morning in Winnipeg — led by police chief Devon Clunis and MLA Kevin Chief and a Gangnam Style dance.
The Chiefs Fun Run began at Norquay School and was held, in part, to show the inner city can be a safe place while also promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities Kevin Chief, who is running in this Sunday's Manitoba Marathon, said Friday's run is much more than a warmup to him.
"When we do events like this for young people, it's not what I say, it's what they see," he said.
In Feburary, Chief was training for the marathon when he was attacked by four people on the Slaw Rebchuk Bridge in the city's North End.
The assault left him with a pair of chipped teeth and a broken nose.
At first he didn't want to talk about it, but now says he's been approached by many people with similar stories.
And seeing students getting excited about living a healthy lifestyle means a lot to him.
"Things like this still help me with the challenge that I faced on that bridge, that cold winter night," he said.
"So now you see something like this," he said, gesturing at the children, "This is a response because I was willing to share and I was willing to ask for support."
Chief said some of that support - as well as the new dance moves - came from police chief Devon Clunis, who said the students were amazing.
"The best part of the run was walking with a number of kids who just want to hold your hand and just talk to you about real life," he said. "So it was really wonderful."
The kids got into the spirit.
But they didn't say it was easy.
"It was kind of hard because we were running like two kilometres," said Terisa Head
But she and her friends finished.
Fatuma Mohamud said she was tired.
"And I ran out of breath," she said.
Organizers said it may look like fun and games, but a lesson can still be learned.
"We want the kids to have a positive time," said Trevor Laforte with the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre.
"We want them to have a fun event, and so if you focus on the positivity, you get rid of a lot of the negative message."
He hoped Friday's run would help kick off a new beginning for the North End.