UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
Bison TF Simon Berube

Bison Track and Field athlete, Simon Berubé leads the pack at 2018 Canada West Championships.

Bisons ready to host the nation at U Sports National Championships

Former Bison star Daryl Fillion reflects on his time at the University of Manitoba

March 1, 2019 — 

As the University of Manitoba Bisons prepare to host the 2019 U Sports Track and Field Championships, March 7-9 at the James Daly Fieldhouse, former Bison track and field star, Daryl Fillion reflects on his U of M experience.

As reported by Canada West: In the distance, from the home Daryl Fillion shares with his family, he can see the track and field stadium where he became a world-class runner. Fillion is a University of Manitoba and Bison alum who now teaches physical education a short distance away from the Fort Garry campus.

A Kenora, Ontario native and gifted high school track athlete, Fillion declined opportunities to attend post-secondary in his home province and elected to come to Winnipeg to compete as a Bison.

“Kenora is the last remaining town before Manitoba so I feel as much from Kenora as I am from Ontario,” Fillion explains. “The closest big city to us is Winnipeg, so I was always connected to Manitoba.”

Fillion came to the U of M in 1991 and navigated his way through a student population that was twice the size of the community he was coming from. He quickly transitioned, continually supported by a herd of Bisons.

“I don’t know how I would meet people at a big institution without a sport connection,” Fillion explains. “Running track on a big team I got to meet a lot of people really fast. It actually grounded me.”

But it was at U of M when Fillion began to take off. Over his five-year career as a Bison, he would collect 10 gold and one bronze at Canada West track and field championships, and add seven gold, two silver, and one bronze from U Sports track and field championships.

Fillion was emerging as one of Canada’s leading middle-distance runners. He came 0.1 seconds short of qualifying for the 800-metre at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria. That near-miss drove him over the next several months to qualify for Canada’s 1995 Pan-Am Games team – which he did by just a couple hundredths of a second.

“It’s a really neat little story that I tell when I give speeches,” he says. “Missing by that much helped me make it by even less eight months later.”

Fillion reached the 800-metre final and finished sixth at the 1995 Pan-Am Games in Argentina then ran for Canada again in 1999 at the Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg. Back on the same surface he had called home as a member of the Bisons, Fillion placed fifth in the 800-metre final and was 10th in the 1,500 metre races.

Fillion continued to compete in meets around the world until 2001 when he took a full-time job teaching in Winnipeg. He’d already spent the previous few years working as a substitute, splitting time between school and track, not unlike he’d done as a Manitoba student-athlete before graduating with a Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Education.

Now able to instil his passion in the youth he teaches. “Whether it’s a competitive sport or just out walking or hiking, find your movement and embrace it, because that’s how you be lifelong active learners,” he says.

“Running was my movement, and I embraced it to the fullest. I never thought that I was going to be representing Canada intentionally, that just played itself out. I just wanted to enjoy it as much as I could, and things just took off.”

Since he started teaching full-time, Fillion has worked at three schools, all in Winnipeg. “I have barely moved away from the University. That was my home,” says Fillion. “Because I landed in this very safe supporting place, I haven’t really left.”

Take in the U Sports National Championships, March 7-9 at the University of Manitoba. Buy championship tickets today.


Brooke-Lynn Boyd’s infectious attitude shines as she throws for gold

Selfless speed: Tegan Turner credits those around her for track success

After a surprise season, sprinter Marcel Dufault has sights set high for 2019


, , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341