The amazing feat of Art Chow


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/06/2022 (358 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Early every morning, like clockwork, a living legend scurries around Crescentwood. He’s a man on a mission and there’s no stopping 85-year-old Dr. Art Chow. For 44 consecutive years he has trained daily for the Manitoba Marathon and hasn’t missed one yet, raising a total of $242,713 (as of last year) for Manitobans living with intellectual disabilities.

It was his friend’s daughter, Katherine — the subject of her mother, Nicola Schaefer’s book, Does She Know She’s There? — who motivated him to support community living. Chow says “the first people I saw when I crossed the finish line that first race was Nicola and Katherine, and they’ve been cheering me on every year since.”

Also cheering him on is his wife of 59 years, Dr. Donna Chow, and their family, which includes three grandchildren. A native of Meaford, Ont., Chow attained a PhD in chemistry and taught at the University of Manitoba. It was at the U of M that he started running on his lunch hours to keep fit with colleagues. This ultimately led to his passion for the original Association for Community Living in 1979.

Retired U of M chemistry professor Art Chow has trained for the Manitoba Marathon since its inception in 1979.
Retired U of M chemistry professor Art Chow has trained for the Manitoba Marathon since its inception in 1979.

A true Renaissance man, Chow has been participating in the Hart House Camera Club annual exhibition for over 60 years and has had more than 500 photographs accepted for display. The first photo competition he won garnered him a prize of four tickets to fly anywhere in the world. He chose Canada’s north. His camera was busy in Churchill, Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet and Yellowknife. Since then he and his wife have visited 65 countries around the globe.

Besides participating in the 10 kilometre race at this year’s anniversary, he will, like every year, also be volunteering by handing out race kits the night before the big race.

Training this year was tough with the snow, icy sidewalks and now potholes everywhere, but Chow never waivered in his daily exercise routine, which includes counting calories.

He’s also counting on supporters to help him reach his goal of $10,000.

“That’s a long way from the $500 I raised my first year,” he says. One of his favourite memories came when “a little girl donated her allowance of 25 cents. It’s those moments that touch the heart,” he says.

Over 10,000 people are involved in the Manitoba Marathon and the one who will be most appreciated this year is the fellow who checks every inch of road conditions so the city can fill potholes for the runners.

“I’ve met so many wonderful people through the Marathon both runners, volunteers and everyone cheers everyone on, no matter what their role,” Chow said.

“Once you start running, everything else just fades away,” he added.

That’s no mean feat.

To support Art Chow in the Manitoba Marathon you can contribute on-line and receive a tax receipt and a “thank you” from the United Way by going to:

The Manitoba Marathon is Sunday, June 19. For more info please see:

Heather Emberley

Heather Emberley
Crescentwood community correspondent

Heather Emberley is a community correspondent for Crescentwood. Email her at if you have a story suggestion.

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