When a tight-knit group of athletes headed out on a Lake Winnipeg crossing earlier this month, they were bound by their love for endurance sport, the outdoors and, most importantly, their love of a fallen friend.
Master Cpl. Alfred Barr, a Winnipeg-based search-and-rescue technician with the Royal Canadian Air Force and avid adventurer, died last March in a work-related training accident.
Riding on fat bikes, the group crossed from Gimli to Grand Beach, camping for two nights in the middle of the lake. Barr had completed the same ride the year earlier.
Ultrarunner and photographer Blake Anderson met Barr while working as a contractor at the Winnipeg base. Anderson, who had long admired the work carried out by Barr and his SAR Tech colleagues, had wanted for years to run across the lake in winter, but the timing never worked out.
But he knew he couldn’t let pass an opportunity to honour Barr, particularly with the safety supports in place for the group.
"We as a brother/sisterhood rode, as friends near and far we rode… We knew we were fine, we were ready for this and ready to honour, not only Alfred, but to honour what we all have in common — adventure."