Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Marathon expands charitable focus

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After raising millions of dollars for people with intellectual disabilities over the last 35 years, organizers at the Manitoba Marathon thought it was time to broaden their horizons.

So, the Father's Day tradition has added 10 charity partners for this year's race, bringing the total to 11, including its own.

And their goal is to add more.

SSLqWe wanted to become more of a community leader with other groups and agencies'

"We wanted to become more of a community leader with other groups and agencies," said Shirley Lumb, the marathon's executive director.

"We see it as a natural evolution for the Manitoba Marathon in terms of fundraising, participation and volunteerism. It's an avenue that will allow us to grow.

"We are still raising funds for people with intellectual disabilities and we will always do that," she said.

The marathon has set up online fundraising pages for all 10 new charities and put each one in charge of what they raise. (They can all be accessed via the marathon's home page: www.manitobamarathon.mb.ca.) Each charity has also entered a team of runners and organized a posse of volunteers.

The Manitoba Marathon raises about $150,000 from each race. Five dollars from each adult entry fee is put into a trust and the rest comes from pledges and donations. (The vast majority of entry fees go towards covering the costs of holding the actual marathon.)

Less than 10 per cent of all runners, however, collect money from their friends and family for the marathon's foundation.

That works out to less than 1,340 fundraisers last year. (There were 13,402 total entrants.)

Lumb is hoping to add another 15 charities in the not-too-distant future so there can be one charity per mile. She said she's not worried about the new charity partners cutting into the marathon's own fundraising.

"The bottom line has stayed about the same for a long time. If we have more participants register, then we're going to do well," she said.

And if you've been too focused on your training to make a pledge to one of the charities, don't worry -- the fundraising deadline isn't until the end of July.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 15, 2013 B2

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