The 2018 River Run.

SRRA keen to build on a legacy of competitive running events

The Saskatoon running community has evolved a lot since the late 1970s when the Saskatoon Road Runners Association was founded in the early days of the North American running boom.

The constant change has presented both challenges and opportunities for the non-profit organization, which is struggling to attract new board members and find volunteers for its two competitive events: the Saskatchewan Marathon and River Run. The 2022 River Run will not go ahead this fall because of a shortage of volunteers and the SRRA hopes to hold the event in the spring of 2023 instead (the Brainfreeze, which is traditionally run at this time, will not happen next year).

This week, SRRA board member and past president Peter Goode spoke with the Brainsport Times about what the SRRA is and why people should want to get involved with the organization.

A legacy of competition

The SRRA was founded to put on competitive running events and used to host three competitive events a year. Early events didn’t attract huge numbers and didn’t require substantial costs or organization.

“Back then, there were no fun runs,” Goode recalls. “You paid your money, you ran your race, you got your time.”

As the running boom spread across Saskatchewan, an influx of new runners spurred a demand for races. More races flooded the calendar and the SRRA grew the size and scope of its events. The Saskatchewan Marathon, which used to attract a couple hundred people to run a 42.2-kilometre race, expanded to offer a variety of distances and now regularly gets thousands of participants, including hundreds of kids in the MaraFun event. “We made it more of a marathon festival,” Goode said. With that growth has come more expenses and the need for more volunteers.

Sask. Marathon volunteers support runners.
Sask. Marathon volunteers support runners.

Today, several groups host fundraising runs over the spring, summer and fall weekends, occasionally competing for participants and volunteers. Cameco’s Step Up for Mental Health, which has rapidly become the largest fundraising run in the city, attracted more than 2,000 runners in person this fall plus nearly 1,000 others virtually.

Even with so many fun runs on the calendar, Goode argues there’s a need for competitive events like those put on by the SRRA that are sanctioned by Saskatchewan Athletics and act as qualifying races for other larger events such as the Boston Marathon.

“A lot of people still like competitive events,” he says.

A commitment to community

The SRRA is one of the biggest donors to the Meewasin Valley Authority and has donated upwards of $400,000 to the non-profit over the last decade. That money contributes to trail upkeeps and enhancements.

“We encourage people to be Road Runner members because we give back to the trails that we run on,” Goode says.

Exploring new ways forward

Before the pandemic, the SRRA hosted Monday night workouts and a “Bridges for Breakfast” series that brought runners together a few Saturday mornings a year to run along the MVA trails and connect over coffee. Goode says the SRRA is looking at what free community-building events it can host in 2023 to bring value to members.

It is also seeking feedback from the community about what it wants competitive events to look like. Would people be interested, for instance, in paying less to enter the River Run if perks like shirts and medals were discontinued? Anyone with feedback is invited to email Goode at

Getting involved

An SRRA adult membership costs $25 and includes reduced entry fees at all SRRA races including the Saskatchewan Marathon. You can buy one online at

Anyone interested in volunteering with the SRRA, including for the upcoming River Run, can email Goode at