One of the newest members of the Manitoba Runners’ Association (MRA) Hall of Fame hails from right here in Lac du Bonnet. Leon Clegg, 70, was inducted into the MRA Hall of Fame in April of 2017 for his achievements in pounding the pavement over the past several decades.
Even at 70, he’s still an avid runner. He first got into running in his mid-30s. Clegg used to play tennis, and took up running for reasons of convenience. “It’s something you can do yourself; you don’t need a partner,” he says. “I just love being outdoors.”
Since he took up the hobby, he’s amassed some impressive accomplishments. He’s won in his age groups 14 times at the Timex Series of races, known as the most competitive races in Manitoba. He’s run in 18 Twin Cities Marathons in Minnesota, winning in his age group five times. He’s also won his age class in the Casino Niagara Marathon in Ontario. His best times are 16m32s (5 km); 34m45s (10 k); 1h17m30s (half marathon); and 2h42 m (full marathon). He’s won the Green Jersey Award twice (it’s given to the fastest age graded runner in Manitoba). The award takes into account how close someone is to the fastest same-age runners in the world.
“I’ve always been the competitive type,” he says. “I probably get that from my mother.” Clegg’s mother was also a competitive runner. The family hailed from Scotland, and Clegg’s mother was set to compete in the British Empire Games in 1938 (they went on to be known as the Commonwealth Games). She was one of the top runners in Scotland, but a bout of scarlet fever prevented her from competing that year. At 95, she’s still active and was at the ceremony in April to see her son get inducted.
“Leon is still going strong, and he’s an inspiration to a lot of people,” says Grant Towns, a fellow runner and friend of Leon’s who nominated him for the Hall of Fame. Clegg and his wife Carol live along Brookfield Road in the RM of Lac du Bonnet near the Pinawa bridge. His favourite place to run is along Brookfield Road, left on PR 211 then left on Hwy. 11 as far as he feels like, then back. The total distance of this run is usually between three to five miles. He’s active in the community, and was instrumental in the Lac du Bonnet District Museum project. He worked at Atomic Energy of Canada as a technologist until his retirement.