Free Registration!


That got your attention.

Ted’s Run for Literacy would love to offer free registrations but alas, we cannot.  We remain committed to our mission of eliminating the cycle of childhood poverty and our goal of hosting a Class A+ running experience for all levels of competitiveness. This costs money.

Free doesn’t purchase running shoes, tee-shirts, shorts, and hygiene kits for under resourced children attending CanU. Free doesn’t buy a laptop computer and state of the art, early literacy programming opportunities for the grassroots inner-city Learn and Play program.  Free doesn’t teach intergenerational traumatized adults how to interact with their children in ways that build hope and promote resilience.

TRL offers competitive registration fees. The average adult early bird registrations fee for 10 km events in Winnipeg is $43.25. We charge $40. The average for 5km events is $29.57 while we charge $30. We offer MRA membership discounts, teacher packages, senior and youth discounts, extremely generous school discounts, and when asked, we happily gift free registrations for community raffles.

It’s impossibly difficult to compete against free registrations, but that’s exactly what we’re facing.  lululemon athletica  recently announced -out of the blue- they are hosting a 5km running event on September 29, the same day as TRL.  They offer free registrations, free breakfasts, free medals, and other free perks.  They will cap their event at about 540 registrants. This event is not sanctioned by MRA nor was it on anyone’s radar until mid-July.

Yup, it’s hard to compete with free.

In fairness, lululemon has come clean. They have apologized to the TRL Board claiming their inexperience in hosting running event is the reason for the conflict. lululemon has promised not to hold their event on the same day as TRL in 2020 and they will consult with MRA for future events. We respect lululemon for owning their blunder and their commit to positive action.

We at Ted’s Run for Literacy hope we have won your respect in our nine years of providing a Gold Standard running event for all abilities. We hope you will continue to support the little race that could in our mission to make the world a better place for children living in poverty.

It’s been said ‘the big print giveth and the small print taketh away’. Free is a mighty big word. I encourage you to be sceptical of the big print and wary of the small print. Sometimes the small print is so small it’s not even visible to the human eye.

You’ll find the true cost of free buried tightly within the small print.

(and don’t forget…we have cake, free cake)

It’s a good day to be alive.


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MRA Discount



Thousands and thousands of you – umm well, actually two of you, but we expect more – have asked if Ted’s Run for Literacy offers a discount for MRA Members.  The answer is, of course we do!

If you are a current MRA member in good standing (that means you have to stand good, straight and tall, no slouching please) you are entitled to a $5.00 discount for either the 5 km or 10 km event. The discount does not apply to our 2 km event because it’s run it at a loss or near loss already and we really do need to make a profit, however tiny, to keep our mission alive.

To redeem your $5.00 MRA discount while registering online simply type the highly top-secret code when prompted. The highly top-secret code is ‘MRA’ (duh). Through the magic of the inner-net the discount will be applied at check out.

If you’re a luddite you can redeem the discount the old fashioned way; with ink, quill and paper. Simply print (cursive preferred) the highly top-secret code (see above if you have memory retention issues) and, using your abacus, subtract $5.00 from the registration fee.

Ezy pzy, right?

There is absolutely NO discount of any kind if you register on race day!  In fact you will pay a significant premium on race day and we will require your first born as collateral. Race day is crazy enough so please be reasonable in your expectations.  Why not skip the stress of late registration and save a few dollars by registering now… go… I still see you… what are you waiting for?

We will do our due diligence by crossing referencing the names of people requesting the discount with the current MRA membership list. Remember, just because you took out an MRA registration 5 years ago doesn’t mean you are still a member. If in doubt, call the good folks at MRA.

This is just one more reason to register -NOW- for the little race that could aka the sleep in race.

As per usual, we expect our 5 km to sell out, so don’t dilly dally, register now.

It’s a good day to be alive.



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Doing our bit for o’l Ma Earth

"It's just one straw" said eight billion people.

Sayan Basak, Times of India


Ted’s Run for Literacy is committed to reducing our carbon footprint. We’ve always aspired to be Green, but this year we’re stepping up our game considerably! We like to think we are leaders in the running community.

Going Green is complicated business and costly. It means rethinking our event from top to bottom and making tough decisions.  It means risking inconveniencing our dear patrons.  It means extra work for our small volunteer base. It means reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible within our limited means.

Most of all it means getting the word out…



In no particular order, Ted’s Run for Literacy is committed to the following actions:

  • We will significantly reduce all single use plastic including straws and plastic water bottles from our 2019 event.
  • We will purchase compostable cups for our water stations. The cups are gathered at the end of the event for professional composting.
  • Our cake will be served on paper napkins (i.e. not paper plates).
  • We will not provide plastic cutlery (cake tastes best when eaten with fingers, duh).
  • We will significantly reduce our paper brochures and other paper media.
  • The cups provided by Tim Hortons, MacDonalds, and Starbucks are not recyclable. For this reason we encourage patrons to bring their own cup for hot beverages.
  • We encourage patrons to bring their own refillable water bottle.
  • Our medals are handmade by a local artist, Natalie Ferguson, thus reducing our carbon footprint and supporting a local artist.
  • We will continue to separate waste generated at our event into three categories: landfill, compost, and recyclable.
  • We will collect unwanted used bibs and give them to MRA who will collect them for the Youth Series events.

We welcome your feedback.  Please let us know what you think of these initiatives. Will you be inconvenienced? Are we expecting too much by asking patrons to bring their own water bottle and cup?  Perhaps you have some ideas that we haven’t thought of, if so share them in the comment section below.

As always, it’s a good day to be alive.


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Who Is Ted, Anyways?

Full disclosure: I am not a runner.  I long tried to be, I wanted to be a runner.  I saw people exhausted but happy, having completed their first marathon, I saw their determination and strength; but alas, whenever my feet hit the road I was miserable, counting every minute, every second until I could just walk again.  In no-uncertain terms: I hated it.

Such was not the case for my father.  Ted Swain, like me, had long tried to be a runner.  But instead of my inherent laziness, it was often injury that interceded, forcing him to stop.  Throughout my childhood I remember his excitement when he returned from a run, his enthusiasm to get out again, and the eventual upset that was caused by an injury that would force him to stop.  

This changed when he finally reached out to the running community.  Beginning with several courses on running at the Kenaston Running Room, I watched my normally introverted father socially and athletically flourish.  He made friends with new and experienced runners, all of whom encouraged and supported each other.  Eventually he became a pace bunny and a regular instructor himself, completing two marathons, and dozens of half-marathons.  For Ted, it was never about the time completed: he always said that the only person you were competing against was yourself.  Instead, for Ted, running was about community, was about support, and he found that in the Winnipeg running community.

He even tried to extend this to me.  Although I certainly inherited Ted’s academic inclinations, he strove to see me running with him as well, and I (grudgingly) acquiesced.  Two weeks before Ted died in May 2009 I ran my first and only race with my dad. 

My father’s death was sudden and traumatic for those of us he left behind.  Dad was a wonderful father who raised me and my sister to believe in ourselves, always offering quiet support that told us in a family full of over-achievers, it was okay to have failings.  He instilled in us a love of literature, of learning, and of language.  I sometimes think that, had he survived, he might have worn down my defences and may have made me into a runner as well.

He did die, however.  Where that was a clear loss for me and my family, it quickly became apparent that the running community had lost something as well: a friend, a mentor to some, and a familiar and supportive face during race season to all.  Nine years ago Ted’s Run for Literacy was established, and every year that I could, I have attended.  Seeing a growing community of people (specifically young people) becoming active and involved would have made my father very happy.  In a greater sense, even though most of those running will never have known my father, it allows him to continue to support a community in which he found so much happiness.

By Natalie Swain

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Posted in Race News

Manitoba Marathon Does it Again!


Just wow!

The Manitoba Marathon is clearly the premier running event this side of Minneapolis.  Although I did not have the opportunity to run this year, I have run six and they just keep getting better.  I stood curb side in Wolseley at mile 11.5 and called out names as I could read them from the bibs.

And the names I couldn’t read were replaced with an endless chatter…

“Way to go Rocket Man”

“You’re rocking the course”

“You’ve got this”

“Smile if you peed a bit”

… and on and on.

But never once did I say the curse of all runners, the dreaded…

“You’re almost there”

Brrr, bad, never say that unless you can hear, smell, and see the finish line!

There are mostly smiles at this point, after all we’re 2 miles shy of the halfway point and the weather is gloriously cool.  There are a few grimaces from the first timers and one young woman appeared to be in distress. I cautioned her to hydrate and she managed a feeble smile.  I hope she makes it!

Mercifully, the fan support is growing, at least here in Wolseley. There was a time the fans would remain quiet, cheer like mad when their loved one crossed, and then pack up and leave.  There now appears to be block cheering parties taking shape.  There are kids entertaining the runners with cartwheels and funny signs while moms and dads cheer loudly and proudly for all runners. Keep it up Winnipeg!

I am proud of my community.  I am proud of The Manitoba Marathon.  Winnipeg is a world class city and The Manitoba Marathon, under the leadership of executive director, Rachel Munday, has risen to the occasion.

Just wow!


PS:  Don’t forget the little race that could on September 29, we may be small, but we have cake!


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Is the 5 km event the new black?

high 5

photo credit Blake Anderson

There was a time the 5 km event was seen as a fun little run, a literal jog in the park to work off last night’s pie and ice-cream or to warm up for more ‘serious’ endeavours.  Not so anymore; the popularity  of the 5 km distance is growing exponentially.

“Everyone thinks the marathon is the Holy Grail, when a lot of people should really be doing the 5K,” says Jason Karp, an exercise physiologist and running coach.

Blogger Christine Aschwanden  argues “Some people aren’t suited to long distances — their natural talents tend toward power and speed rather than endurance.And if you’re exercising for health and fitness, several studies suggest that moderate mileage, which is typical in a training plan for 5Ks, might provide a better way to get there”.

This race director adds with humility “… if you’re aging or if you’re injured, or if you’re injured and old (like me), if you’re overwhelmed with life and work and family, if you’re wanting to do something positive but are swimming in a choppy sea of self-deprecation and self-doubt, and if you pine for the glory days, if you pine for success and gratitude, if you pine for happiness and well-being, the 5 km distance might be just for you”.

Why not give it a try?

Ted’s Run for Literacy first added the 5 km event to their race roster in 2015. Forty-seven registered and their times ranged from 17:55 to 54:07. In 2018 ninety-eight registered and the times ranged from 20:43 and 56:14.  That’s a 100% increase in registrants in three years. Indeed, the new black.

We have always considered our 10 km event to be our premiere event when, in fact, the numbers suggest a shift to the 5 km event.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018 our race crew scrambled to fill the demand for the 5 km event.  You need to understand we pre-chip our bibs at a cost of about $3.00 each, so it’s important we estimate judiciously. We have under-estimated the demand for two consecutive years and sadly, we’ve had to decline some registrants due to a sell-out. This hurts us financially and leaves the runner feeling bummed.

In preparation for another sell out, Ted’s Run for Literacy will chip 150 5 km bibs and 150 10 km bibs. Don’t leave us hanging, we pay $3 for unused bibs so please spread the word and click, click, click here to register.

The little race that could…


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An Open Letter to Gina Tranquada

Dear Gina,

Just a quick note to congratulate you on your third place finish at the 2019 Winnipeg Police Half Marathon. You are an inspiration to our community and you make us so proud! One hour, thirty-one minutes, and one second is an outstanding time, but (there’s always a ‘but’) I want to draw your attention to another running milestone you achieved way back in 2012.

As I recall it was a rainy day, or was it snowy? There could have been a windchill or at the very least, sleet. I know for sure it wasn’t sunny or warm because our race is not known for balmy conditions, but (see, there’s another one) I digress.

This was the year you walked away $150 richer from Ted’s Run for Literacy for the fastest course record set by a female. Just so you know, this record still stands today despite some serious challenges from some badass female runners who would love to steal this record. The male fastest course time has been beat at least three times and is currently owned by Paul Carr (34:16:90).

Gina, do you remember your time? Are you curious? Do you think you can beat your own record? Are there any badass ladies with a chip on their shoulder (or bib, get it?  chip… bib… never mind, bad runner’s pun) out there who think they are a contender for a new record?

Seriously Gina, we would love to have you back on our course. You are a star VIP in our eyes and we would give you your own personal seat next to the propane heater, exclusive parking, and we will serve you cake on your very own souvenir paper plate.

Hope to hear from you soon Gina.

It’s a good day to be alive,

The TRL Race Crew

PS… to check Gina’s time go to and click “results”… I could tell you but I’m trying to drive some traffic our way :).

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We’re not flush, but we aren’t cheap either.  Last year Ted’s Run for Literacy donated $7077 to two very deserving organizations that align directly with our Mission Statement.  We donated $4000 to our long term charity partner, Can U and another $3077 to Inner City Missions, Learn and Play.

When you register for The Little Race That Could, know that 100% of the registration fee directly supports improving literacy within inner city neighbourhoods; not one penny (what’s a penny again?) is used for race administration.

The cost of hosting our event is covered entirely by our wonderful sponsors. Your registration fees and donations are immediately put to work making our city a better place for children, a better place to live.

You should feel good about that.. we sure do!

As always, it’s a good day to be alive.


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Mark your calendars!

Our race committee is gearing up for our 9th annual Ted’s Run for Literacy on September 29, 2019. We are pleased to announce that we now have a school outreach coordinator, Ryan Warkentin. Ryan’s sole job is to expand on the number of school teams registering for TRL (no pressure Ryan). Back by popular demand are the unique, hand made medals designed and made by local artist, Natalie Ferguson. And yes, don’t worry, there will be heaps of Tara Bjornson’s famous cake!

Stay tuned for more announcements.

We are indeed the little race that could.


Race Director

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Our 5 km event has sold out, twice!  We chipped 70 bibs for the 5 km event and sold out on Thursday morning.  We located another 38 bibs and sold these out in a couple of hours.  We have capped the 5 km event at 108 participants.

Several 10 km bibs remain but we expect these too will be sold out.

Kit pick up is on Saturday, September 22 between 10:00AM and 2:00 PM at the Kenaston Running room.

It’s a good day to be alive,


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