As a Grade 5 student, Chris Weber started running in elementary school quite literally in his own backyard, as the course that they followed ran right past his home in the Woodhaven section of St. James. From there, running has taken Weber all over the world.
1990’s Male Athlete of the Year, Weber was a seven-time Canadian world cross country team member, a three-time Manitoba record holder and represented Canada at the Commonwealth and Francophone Games. In 1990, he finished first in the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, Conn., the second-oldest road race in the United States. “Being the underdog makes it a special race,” said Weber, who was not expected to be much of a threat in the race. It was just the first in a long list of impressive achievements for the lanky runner.
But Weber’s running career was almost cut short at the most inopportune time. In 1992, Weber was preparing for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. While he had not qualified, he was posting training and race times that were promising good things to come. Then he discovered a lump on one of his testicles. It was cancer.
“I was very disappointed but at the same time there are priorities in life,” said Weber, who underwent radiation treatments. “This is cancer.” While no one would blame him for feeling cheated of his chance to go to the Olympics, Weber was still philosophic about it all. “You have to ask yourself, what is the priority?” said Weber. “The Olympics were not that important.”
Weber came back from the cancer to compete in the 1993 World Cross Country Championships and to finish 13th in the 5,000 metres at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, B.C. In 1995, Weber was third (top North American) at the Vancouver Sun Run 10 km and he posted his best ever finish at the World Cross Country Championships with a 51st-place finish. In 1998, he finished first at the Vancouver Sun Run, beating an international field that included several Kenyans.
“There’s lots of life after running,” said Weber, who moved to Ottawa in 1998 to work in Natural Resources for Environment Canada.
b. September 22, 1966