Winter running in Winnipeg

Dec 28th 2017 9:00 AM, Temperature: -17⁰C , Christmas Holidays…

The last three days have been cold… more than -28⁰C with wind chill cold. People often say I am crazy for running outdoors all year.

Maybe I am a little crazy; but as a marathon a runner who trains outdoors all year, and even the last few days, I also think I might be experiencing our beautiful city more intimately than fair weather runners.

After some procrastination, I did eventually manage to get out the door of our Osborne Village condo. I often find calm well-groomed paths along the river to the forks, across the two bridges behind St. Boniface Hospital, and all the way to, or past Assiniboine Park through the Forest in Charleswood, to the Perimeter. There are a host of well-maintained paths around the entire area… even in the opposite direction out to Birds Hill Park.

Today I ran 14 miles down Wellington, through Assiniboine Park (stopping as per usual for a washroom and water break at the duck pond), through the trails past Smithdale Park in Charleswood, looping back to the Assiniboine Park down Roblin Blvd and through the forest trails (that are usually groomed) back home.

Before running home, I stopped at the duck pond one more time. With a light snow, no wind, and a handful of people skating on the pond, it was a beautiful day to be running around these trails. Heading back down Wellington, the quiet of a light snow fall made by strides slower, but the snow also muffled the sounds of the city.  I think this is what I love so much about winter running in Winnipeg. The combination of people mostly nestled in their homes, and the snow muffling the noise is something I look forward to during summer.

Winter running in Winnipeg is completely different than anything else. I often find myself falling back in love with running and Winnipeg on winter runs. Dressed appropriately, the activity is naturally less hurried. Winter running is certainly more difficult than summer running, but it is also an experience of pure joy. This is partially provided by the silence and simplicity of the winter run, and the welcomed change from fast past tempos of summer training.  If I I haven’t convinced you, check out some of your local Winnipeg trails this winter… I bet they beat the treadmill any day.

Justin Kirouac is currently a third year Construction Management student at Red River College, and a local Marathon Runner. In 2016, Justin finished 4th in the Manitoba Marathon after running The Boston Marathon that April.  In 2017 Justin placed 6th in the Manitoba Marathon, and he hopes to one-day break 2:40. Justin also enjoys trail running, cycling, and most outdoor activities for that matter. Justin and his girlfriend Fran live in Osborne Village.

 He recently joined the survey team at Winnipeg Trails and will be out on the trails asking for your thoughts, as part of the Mode Shift project with the University of Manitoba.  The Winnipeg Trails Association is a coalition of volunteer trail builders and trail users who are focused on accelerating trail development and connectivity in Winnipeg.  For more information, go to www.winnipegtrails.ca