In a sea of sneakers, spandex and sweat, family members came to the Manitoba Marathon to tackle various courses together.
On Father’s Day at the University of Manitoba, colourful archways towered over Chancellor Matheson Road to indicate where racers should stand, and where parents and friends could watch proudly from the sidelines. There were wishes of love, luck and of fun before eager marathoners found their way to the course.
After racing bibs were safety-pinned in place, families joined arms and marched to their respective race.
One family found their way to a familiar event, the super run. In the early 1980s, Ross and Brenda Wedlake started taking their three children to the Manitoba Marathon. Decades later, the event has become a tradition across generations — this year, 10 family members took part.
"It’s always good to be with family, especially the little ones," Ross said. "I’m glad we can still do things with them rather than have to sit and watch."
While some participants race to compete, Brenda said their goal is to always just have fun.
"I’m going to be 70 this year, so it’s good to just be able to get to the finish line," Brenda said.
Ross and Brenda joined their four grandchildren and son-in-law Jason Hurton on the super run while other family members ran the 10 kilometre marathon and half marathon.
As family members reached the finish line at different times in the heart of IG Field, they climbed up toward the stands to find the perfect viewing spot to cheer on those still running.
Next to cross the finish line was the Harmer family. Bryan Harmer completed his first super run with his son Michael and five-year-old granddaughter Monica. Even though they were catching their breath, Bryan said the time on the course didn’t matter as much as the time they spent together.
"I don’t know (how long it took), I don’t really care, it’s Father’s Day! What a great way to celebrate it," Bryan said.
Monica sat perched on her father’s shoulders, looking onto the other athletes and taking in the cheers coming from the stadium.
"I’m so proud of my little girl," said Michael, shaking Monica’s foot.
"I couldn’t think of another way to spend Father’s Day than having a run with her."
Michael said they plan to continue their family tradition, even as they age.
"I just hope I can keep up with Monica as she gets older," he said. "She did a really great job out there."
As the Harmers left the finish line to join the stadium above, the Wedlakes and Hurtons looked down from their seats and saw their final family member, Heather Rempel, cross the finish line after completing the half marathon. When they reunited, some of the kids were snacking on recovery food and the adults were discussing brunch plans to celebrate.
Both the super run and the half marathon have approximately 4,000 participants, according to the Manitoba Marathon website.
Updated on Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 9:40 PM CDT: Edited