March 29, 2016 2:51 pm
Updated: March 30, 2016 9:06 am

Manitoba Marathon switching gears in 2016

WATCH: The Manitoba Marathon route, which was first used in 1980, will be racing in the opposite direction this year.


WINNIPEG — His marathon training has never changed. Even though the marathon Jonathan Torchia is training for has.

“I’ve had a few people out at my run club make the joke how the course is now backwards and if we have to run it backwards,” said the Winnipegger.

Backwards – no.

In reverse – yes.

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The Manitoba Marathon route, which was first used in 1980, will be racing in the opposite direction this year. Runners will still start and finish at the University of Manitoba but will now to turn onto Bishop Grandin Boulevard at the beginning instead of going straight up Pembina Highway.

The Manitoba Marathon hinted the change is the first of many aimed at attracting more out of towners to the race.

“We have a lot of areas we would love to highlight on our route,” said Manitoba Marathon executive director Rachel Munday.

“We have a lot of reasons for people to want to come to Winnipeg and check us out.”

Organizers have been working on reversing the route since before last year’s race. The Manitoba Marathon had to re-measure the course plus notify neighbourhoods, businesses as well as each one of its 2,000 volunteers.

“If they typically come out between 7 to 8:30 am and want to be in the same spot, they’ll now be out from 9 am to noon,” said Munday.

The change to the course means runners will no longer have to battle the marathon’s infamous ‘hill’, the Bishop Grandin overpass, near the end of the race. But marathon coaches are recommending runners ditch their elevation training. Marathoners will now face a challenging curved climb near mile 20 at Pembina Highway and Jubilee Avenue.

“The key will be not to waste your energy early on in the race going over this hill,” said Ken Friesen, owner of Stride Ahead Sports.

Meaning proper form is important to keep some fuel for the final leg.

“Your arms are what’s driving you up the hill,” said Friesen. “Look forward at teh crest of the hill as opposed to down at the ground.”

This year’s Manitoba Marathon takes place June 19. Early bird registration ends April 19.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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