Manitoba Marathon runners brave rain, cross finish line

Rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of many runners in the 36th Manitoba Marathon this morning, including the four Winnipeggers who won the full and half marathons.
Brian Walker crosses the finish line as the men's full marathon winner at the Manitoba Marathon on Sunday morning. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of many runners in the 36th Manitoba Marathon this morning, including the four Winnipeggers who won the full and half marathons.

Brian Walker, 32, won the men's full marathon with a time of 2:36:44, and Alice Sherwin won the women's full marathon at 3:04:38.

"I had a lot of family members out there on the course cheering, but it was a real grind today and it was nice to be able to hold on," Walker told CBC News after crossing the finish line.

Alice Sherwin, a 26-year-old teacher in Winnipeg, won the women's full marathon. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)
Walker, who had come in second place for the past two years, said this year's victory adds to a family tradition — his uncle, Bob Walker, holds the event record for the fastest full marathon time from a Manitoban.

​Sherwin, 26, said her boyfriend and coach met her along the route to encourage her.

As well, the teacher said she found the strength to keep going by thinking of her students.

Sherwin said she ran to support CanU Canada, an organization that helps connect inner-city children with partners such as the University of Manitoba's track and field team.

"There's definitely some kids in there that can do this, for sure. Like, they're running faster than I am, so they can do it," she said.

Sherwin said this is her second marathon and her best time yet.

In the half marathon, Yussuf Abduselam crossed the finish line first at 1:09:32, while Cathy Cullen won the women's race with a time of 1:25:13.

Cullen said she was running with someone from Iraq whose story from his homeland inspired her to keep going.

A total of about 12,000 people are taking part in this year's marathon, and organizers expected about as many spectators would be cheering them on.

"It's really exciting to see the start line and exciting to see the finish line," said Shirley Lumb, the marathon's executive director.

"You see all of those people coming in, and they've met their personal goals. It's really inspirational."

The Manitoba Marathon is held every year in support of people living with intellectual disabilities.

Mom with one leg finishes race for 3rd time

Sandi Reimer laced up for the Manitoba Marathon for the third time Sunday morning.

The 41-year-old mom has completed the race three years in a row and done it all on one leg.

“One day I was flipping through the newspapers at a coffee shop and an ad for a 5 k race just jumped off the page, and I thought, ‘My gosh. They have those. I could do that!” she said.

Reimer lost her leg shortly after birth, and after a difficult childhood, she entered the foster care system at age 14.

The switch meant starting a new school, where she tried sprinting for the first time.

“The jocks in the class, they took me under their wing, and they said, We’re not letting you sit on the bench anymore. You’re getting in the game,’” she said.

So Reimer became a self-professed gym-rat, taking phys-ed classes for extra credit.

Now, she’s an avid runner, and has set a goal of completing 100 races by the time she hits 50.

On Sunday, Reimer ran 4.16 kilometres in the Manitoba Marathon’s Super Run.

“You can always push yourself more than you think you can,” she said.