The 11th annual Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon kicked off at Assiniboine Park Sunday with unusually warm weather, a new five kilometre race option and an extra boost for donors.

Race director Nick Paulet said Sunday’s weather was the best in the marathon’s history, which was good news for the 2,900 runners that took part.

“We always talk about community coming together; some people use that as a slogan, but this is what that looks like,” said Paulet.

The new addition of a five kilometer race helped bring even more runners out, including Sandi Reimer.

Shortly after Reimer was born, her right leg was amputated because of gangrene. Three years ago, she began running five kilometer distances with her crutches – and has been going ever since.

“This was race 29 – all with crutches, all various races. I’ve got about 20 to 25 slated this year,” said Reimer.

“When you make it through some stuff you realize you get a second shot at life and you’ve got to go full tilt with that shot,” she said.

All money raised from this year’s event goes to the Canadian Cancer Society in support of brain cancer research.

For the next five years, proceeds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Brain Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, a public-private partnership established by the Government of Canada.

Brain cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths among youth and young adults. The overall survival rate for all cancers is 63%, while the relative survival rate of brain cancer is 25%. Brain cancer represents some of the most aggressive forms of cancer, making it difficult to destroy.