BMO’s team captain is ready to lace up for this year’s annual Pride and Remembrance Run in Toronto…
Ariana Grande will be with Artee Mântua when he crosses the finish line at the 2018 Pride and Remembrance Run on June 23rd. Ok, she won’t be there in person, just singing along in Mântua’s iPod as he runs his third Remembrance Run.
Mântua, a BMO Bank of Montreal employee, was never a guy who would lace up his shoes and go for a quick 5-10k run at the end of his work day. “I’m a pretty big fitness and health guy,” he says. “But running was always my downfall. I would go out and do small runs here and there but I was never a running guy. I would go to the gym and lift weights, do a bunch of burpees and CrossFit.” With the Pride run, the 32-year-old saw an opportunity to try something that would challenge him and help the LGBTQ+ community. “It was a good trade-off.”
Mântua’s first Pride and Remembrance Run in 2016 didn’t go as planned – there were times he was gasping for air. Fast forward to 2017, not only did he complete the run – he was the first BMO employee to cross the finish line.
Mântua has been with BMO for five years and says his employer is one of the reasons why he runs. “Seeing one of Canada’s largest financial institutions sponsoring it, is great as well as having companies encourage people to be their authentic selves.”
He also sees the parallels between training for a run and business. “It’s about training hard, preparing, working as a team and encouraging each other.” When Mântua heard of BMO’s platinum sponsorship of the run, he viewed this as an opportunity to match the training and work he gives to his career and community to training – not only for the run, but for himself overall. “That’s what got me interested,” says Mântua. “It also helps that it occurs during Pride Month so it really kept me accountable for living a healthly lifestyle.”
Mântua credits his company for encouraging their employees to live authentically – both personally and professionally. “Great strides have been made by corporations and the government, but there are always opportunities for improvement. Companies need to be doing more than putting a rainbow sticker on the door.” Mântua says it’s about creating an inclusive, accessible and diverse place for people to come and be their own selves.
This year, Mântua wants his splits to be under five minutes and he’s hoping to match his 2017 time of 23 minutes – but won’t complain if he finished in 22 minutes. He’ll be one of hundreds of people running on June 23 in support of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community. “When we run together, we win together.”