Manitoba Marathon cancelled mid-race as mercury climbs to dangerous levels

The Manitoba Marathon has been cancelled after Environment Canada issued a heat warning, organizers confirmed to CBC News.

About an hour after the run started, the decision was made to cancel the event, which boasted about 6,000 participants.

“We had hoped that today would turn out better,” said Manitoba Marathon executive director Rachel Munday. “We certainly thought that the wind was going to be our friend and cool people on the course,

“The guidelines say even the fittest runner, once you hit low 30s [C], shouldn’t be running a long distance. It’s too taxing on the body, so we made the very, extremely difficult decision to stop the race.”

The runners crossed the start line at Winnipeg’s IG Field at 7 a.m. as the temperature was already a balmy 23 C, but Environment Canada says humidex values will likely climb into the 35 C to 40 C range by 10 a.m.

Rachel Munday, the executive director of the Manitoba Marathon, says the decision to cancel the marathon was very difficult. (Joanne Roberts/CBC)

Participants in the five- and 10-kilometre races were allowed to complete their runs, but the half marathon, relay, 50 kilometre and full marathon were cancelled, Munday said.

“It’s been a rough three years, but now we can start looking toward next year and having an even better event then,” she said.

Daniel Heschuk finished the half marathon in fifth place before the race was cancelled, but says he nearly quit.

“It was probably the hardest race I’ve ever run. At seven miles, I was about to drop out. I started walking and I actually asked the people ahead, ‘How do I drop out,'” he said.

Daniel Heschuk is glad he didn’t cut his half marathon short due to heat. Even so, he says it’s the hardest race he’s ever had to do. (Joanne Roberts/CBC)

Heschuk decided it would be harder to end the race early than to finish it.

“I’m really happy with the results,” he said. “Overall, it’s super great being able to compete against such talented people.”

Justin Bulaong finished the Manitoba Marathon and says the water stations and showers throughout helped him stay relatively cool during the race. (Joanne Roberts/CBC)

Justin Bulaong didn’t realize the race had been cancelled until after he had finished.

The cooling stations helped him finish the half marathon he said, with nothing but some cramping near the end.

“At least everyone is safe and healthy because you don’t want anyone passing out due to heat stroke or anything like that,” Bulaong said. “If they have to cancel due to that then it’s all good.”

Simon Cooke ran the Manitoba Marathon’s relay and then handed out popsicles to fellow participants afterwards. (Karen Pauls/CBC)

Road closures

If you’re driving in Winnipeg this morning, expect some road closures throughout the day.

Chancellor Matheson Road is closed from Research Way to University Crescent, and University Crescent is closed from Chancellor Matheson Road to Pembina Highway.

Also closed is the off-ramp from southbound Pembina Highway to eastbound Jubilee Avenue.

The City of Winnipeg says these road closures are in effect until 3 p.m.

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