Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Race honours aboriginal runner

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AS a competitive runner 20 years ago, one of the first races Rocky McKay took part in was in memory of aboriginal Olympic runner Joe Keeper Sr.

Today, the St. James resident is race director for the Joe Keeper Memorial 10 K Race, to be held at 8 a.m. on Aug. 31 at Assiniboine Park, starting near the duck pond.

In addition to the 10-kilometre run, there will also be a 5-K fun run, walk and jog. Entry fees will be donated to the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Council Scholarship Fund, to support young aboriginal people heading to university or college.

McKay hopes that the run will become an annual event.

"I am aboriginal and having a role model like Joe Keeper to look up to always meant a lot to me," says McKay. "It's important to celebrate first nation role models. We can be pretty shy about doing that sometimes, but it is good for young people to have them to look up to."

Keeper was a Cree athlete from Norway House who competed in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Keeper placed fourth in the 10,000 metre run. He died in 1971 and was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.

Keeper's grandson, Lorne Keeper, is currently executive director of the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre. His granddaughter is actress Tina Keeper, who starred in the television series North of 60.

To sign up for the Joe Keeper Memorial 10K Race, visit the Manitoba Runners Association Web site at www.mraweb.ca, call the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre at 940-7020, or call McKay at 889-4502.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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