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  • Vermilion Voice

Winter Runners Brave Extreme Cold Temperatures

You may have noticed some runners out recently and wondered who in their right mind would be running in these harsh minus winter temperatures. The Denwood Outdoors Athletics Club (DOAC) running group is who! The group has been out running, with some members training for the Hypothermic Half Marathon, since early November last year running lengths of 5 -10 km and up to 18 km in the minus temperatures. The tough winter run aka the Annual Hypothermic Half Marathon is a winter half marathon event, which also includes 5 km and 10 km runs on the day, held in the Edmonton River Valley on February 26.

Training For The Hypothermic Run

(From left) Runners Megan Cromarty, Marie Conboy and Julie Pittman after completing a 7 km run around Clear Lake outside Wainwright in January.

Denwood Outdoors Athletics Club (DOAC) running group treasurer and organizer Alain Goguen, who is a Medical Technician at the Wainwright military base, said he started the running group because he likes to run and to get people out running. “Once the cold weather hits, you see who the real tough ones are. When the going gets tough the tough gets going,” said Goguen. “I give advice on how to dress the newer winter runners, but the best way to learn is to just go out there and do a bit of trial and error, and keep making adjustments every run until you figure it out for yourself. Not everybody is the same, some people might need to wear one jacket, but another person might need to wear more layers. If we are only doing a quick run, you won’t be in danger of getting frost bitten. As long as you are moving - you are producing a lot of heat, running in winter is not really that extreme, people think it’s extreme because they don’t do it and they don’t understand it. As long as you dress appropriately, once you start going you will be too warm versus being too cold.

Frozen Faces On The Hypothermic Half

Denwood Outdoors Athletics Club (DOAC) Running Group Treasurer Alain Goguen.

We always do different runs for different levels of fitness and different kilometer distances. The more people we get to come out the more people can run with someone of their own strength, so it’s more encouraging,” added Goguen.

Edmonton Hypothermic Run Coordinator Justin Ng says there will be 480 people turning out for the run in Edmonton on February 26.

“It takes a lot of organization to get everything ready and in place for the runs; we have just under 50 volunteers this year. The event always sells out, and you never know what the weather is going to do. Last year it was warm, and people didn’t need to wear as many layers,” said Ng.

Each participant receives a Hypothermic Run Set, which includes a running backpack and toque, a hearty post-race brunch and a finisher's medal.

If you like running and braving whatever elements the season decides to throw at you this is a race worth checking out! For more information go to the DOAC Facebook page

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