Athletes in Winnipeg braved the icy, slushy conditions on Saturday for a unique duathlon event at The Forks.
Race Director Jen Shapka says 1JustCity’s annual Beat The Cold event has racers celebrating the season, even when warm temperatures mean it’s not the race they’re used to.
“Winnipeggers are very hardy people and like to be outside. And Winnipeg does winter really well. And even when we can’t be on the trails which we all love, you can see that it’s very well attended.” Shapka said.
In other years, the event is a triathlon complete with running, biking, and skating on the river. Still, the unseasonably warm weather forced organizers to re-arrange the route, into a duathlon, with two running portions separated by a biking section.
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“It really just takes a traditional triathlon, and puts a really fun winter spin on it. Very Winnipeg.” said Kathy Malkoske, Racer.
The event is sanctioned by Triathlon Manitoba but many people like to participate for a bit of fun.
“Staying active, especially during the winter, it’s something – I’m always looking to do different activities just to not be inside,” said Participant Pamela Vega.
Shapka says for many racers, this is their introduction to multi-sport events and then they go on to more triathlons.
However, the race is more than a random fun mid-winter competition it is also an opportunity for runners to pledge money for ‘Just a Warm Sleep’ which is an overnight emergency shelter with a current capacity for 30 people.
By Friday night participants had raised $16,000 for the shelter on top of registration fees and sponsorships. “Our work here today is helping a lot of people be safe and secure at night. There’s always more need, and the line is always longer than they have capacity for.” Shapka said.
— With files from Global’s Katherine Dornian
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