Eight teenage boys from the Garden Hill First Nation have travelled hundreds of kilometres to run in this weekend's Manitoba Marathon, but their journey involves more than just distances.

The teenage boys from the remote First Nation, located 475 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, are aiming for their personal bests in Sunday's marathon.

"I want to beat my old time: two hours and 29 minutes," said Brendan Wood, who will be running his second half-marathon.

They are part of a program called Mino Bimaadiziwin — meaning "the good life" in Ojibway — in which they all live a clean lifestyle with no drugs or alcohol.

"They've grown up together, they've bonded together, and all of them … they just found the mutual support not to get involved with that," said Jordan Bighorn, the program's co-director.

Members of the program also mentor younger children in the community, at least when they're not running three or more times a week.

"To me, it's pushing yourself. I usually push myself a lot," said Brendan Mason, 15.

The young runners' trip to Winnipeg is just the beginning, as the teens will be moving to the capital city this fall to attend high school.