The inaugural Great Grain Relay was held on April 9,1983 and was the first major event in the newly constructed Max Bell Centre at the University of Manitoba . The original idea was developed when Jim Daly, then the University of Manitoba's Director of Private Funding and Mike McAndless, who was consulting with the University at the time got together to think about an opening event for the new facility. As the structure neared completion, they began to discuss ideas - with particular interest in a community based function in recognition of the strong support for the project's development.  The thought of a team athletic event that allowed a broad range of participation from the community with varying levels of fitness was the concept. Armed with this idea, Mike went back to his organization, United Grain Growers, and others within the grain industry to develop the event further. Initially, Don Ross and Mike McAndless both employees of United Grain Growers, sought out a number of like minded individuals within the industry and formed a committee to develop and finalize an event model. Committee members had long recognized the need for a mid-winter indoor team fitness event as a focus for participants for the long winter break between the former Kelly Corporate Relay, which was run in the fall, and June's Manitoba Marathon .


Originally the relay was scheduled for February; however, due to construction delays the Max Bell Centre was not operational for an event of this size until April. All subsequent Great Grain Relay events have been scheduled and run in mid to late February as originally intended.


Much of the original concept is still in place.  T shirts go to the lap counters.  The run continues to be supported by Grain Industry sponsors - although the support has broadened substantially over the years.  A reception following the race is still in place. Don Ross, Rob Tisdale, and Mike McAndless (founding committee members) continue to take an active roll in organizing the event annually and are normally “on site and working” on relay day…Don Ross has never missed an event!




The relay itself was never meant as a “fundraiser” but rather to celebrate a day of fitness for the participants and to give them an opportunity, with other team members, to reconnect and initiate or test their plans to train for other events that occur once the snow clears later in spring. Given this fact, the Great Grain Relay, through its entry fees and corporate sponsorships, has always managed to generate a yearly profit – so each year the Directors appoint a “Charity of Choice” and a donation representing the excess income of the event has been donated to this charity.


Charities supported in the past include: Ronald McDonald House, Jocelyn House, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Red Cross – Manitoba Division, Alzheimer's Society, Manitoba Division Arthritis Society/Joints in Motion, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation


The 35th Annual Great Grain Wellness Relay is supporting KidSport Winnipeg which helps to remove barriers and assist less fortunate children participate in sport - so ALL kids can play!  More information about KidSport can be found be clicking the logo below.








Race Director: David Hooper

Phone: (204) 223-3076

Email: dhooper@colliers.mb.ca







Thank you to everyone who particpated in

the 37th Great Grain Wellness Relay


Results are posted in the results section


See you next year!

The Race

The race is 2 hours total- the team going the farthest wins. Each team member must run 4 laps (800 m) continually on each turn. Each member must run its sequence as per their submitted list to the lapcounter.



The Course

The course is the indoor 200 meter track of the Max Bell Centre, at the University of Manitoba


  • Teams must consists of 5 runners. Each team must provide one additional person to act as lap counter

  • All lap counters must be registered with the team entry and must report in by 11:00 am on race day for training with their team



  • Corporate - Members must be full-time employees of the firm they represent. All government employee teams must consist of employees from the same department

  • Friends & Neighbours - Open to anyone

  • Masters

  • High School - Open to students, teachers, and employees of specific high school



  • Men

  • Women

  • Mixed


Awards and Prizes
  • Cabin Fever Cup to overall corporate winner

  • Individual prizes to all members of winning teams

  • Team awards to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams in each category

  • Spot prizes through the race

  • All teams recieve complimentary t-shirts

  • Massage therapist on site



Fee for 5-person Relay Team



NEW EVENT: 2 Person Beer Mile Relay!
  • Will be held after the main event and prior to the awards ceremony

  • Each team member must consume a 335mL can of beer (included with entry fee) then run 2 laps around the track. This is done twice by each team member.

  • Entry fee of $40 per team (Payable by cash or credit card at the event)

  • Please drink responsibly


    Race Info