Touchdown: Manitoba Marathon finishes in IGF for first time
Thousands of runners rushed for a goal line and finish line at the same time as the biggest road race in Manitoba wrapped at investors group field, Sunday.
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For some people it was their first finish line, for others, their hundredth, but for nearly everyone who finished a race during the 2017 Manitoba Marathon race weekend, it was their first time on the turf of a professional football field.
“The feedback throughout the day was really, really good, people were just thrilled to be down there,” said race director Rachel Munday. “Everyone had that finish experience, no matter what distance they ran… they all loved it.”
After reversing the direction of the marathon in 2016—a change that stuck—she and organizers worked all year to transform the race day experience even further by wrapping up all race events in Investor’s Group Field (IGF)
Runners entered the stadium to cheering spectators, bolted over the same painted yard lines professional athletes clambered over days earlier, and over a finish line Munday expects they’ll never forget.
“When the runners were finishing you could see it on their faces… just the joy of finishing, but also just realizing how cool it was to be on the field with the Jumbotron on, music playing,” she said. “People were thrilled.”
It was a rainy, grey-skied race day, but Munday said beyond the exciting finishing experience IGF also offered some shelter and post-race crowd flow benefits that made the day a success.
“It was a perfect example for why this building is great; people were able to finish, then went up to the recovery area (in the concourse),” she said.
With the weather protection, lively crowd and concessions open, Munday said it reminded her of any other Blue Bombers game day and overall “exceeded expectations.”
“I think next year will follow a similar format, we’d like to stay in the building,” she said, adding that with another year of planning and feedback, it would make sense for the IGF and Manitoba Marathon partnership to be a “long term plan.”
“Once you move into a building like that, it’s hard to go back to anything else,” Munday said.