Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Polar Bare Run: 2013 Edition

Welcome to the Polar Bare Run
Cathy posing beside the Race Sign
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

The Polar Bare Run (aka The Frosty Nipple Run), Jan 1, 2013
Winnipeg, MB
Photo Credits : Kelly Morton Photography

So what did you do on New Year's Day?

Well I can tell you what I did. I ran a great little word of mouth event called the Polar Bare Run at the Formal Gardens located in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park. This was the 9th year for this get together of runners that takes place New Year's Day no matter what Mother Nature's throws at us.

The great thing about this event is that there is no fee, you just show up with a open mind and some form of minimal running gear to blast around the approximately 700 metres of frozen road track and have a bit of fun. The typical attire is bikinis for the ladies and the ever popular speedo for the guys, but you do some interesting variations of this as well, including underwear briefs, boxers, formal gowns and a tutu. Yes, you read that right, a tutu, more on that later, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

I have run the Polar Bare Run for the last two years, and the weather and wind definitely makes this interesting. Both years have produced base temps below -20 degrees Celsius and dropped it even further with the windchill to the range of -30. It makes for a interesting time for sure. This year was no different  with a nice little breeze out of the east, the last sprint when you come around the corner is quite invigorating to say the least.

But I digress, this year there was about 40 runners out to complete the task at hand. Everybody was prepped and ready to go huddled around the start line in a combination of housecoats, winter coats and whatever else they could find to cover themselves before the call to run. At 8:58, the two minute warning was called and jackets, housecoats were quickly removed and everybody lined up for the start call. I hung out in the back trying not to cause to much of a scene as I removed my mukluks and housecoat to reveal my running gear of the day. A Kate Kift original tutu is a combination of blues and white, I thought it blended perfectly with my blonde hair and blue eyes.

Can you spot me in the background,
I will give you a hint, I am wearing something blue
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

As everybody sprinted off, I slowly picked my way from the back through to the front. I got the usual, 'holy crap bare feet that is crazy', to 'Awesome, what a great tutu'. I felt like I was flying as I passed most of the runner's (I personally think it was the shock factor, because normally I could not compete with the majority of these guys and gals) and headed to the front of the pack. My feet were handling the icy conditions well as I B-lined it down the road.
One of my favorite shots as the runners head down the
road through all overhanging trees
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography
I was chasing down the first 4 or 5 runners as I hit the corner and hit the wind, holy crap it was a like a smack in the face, I knew it was coming but it still shocked me to no end. I picked up the pace to finish as quick as possible, as I started to realize that the very efficient parks crew had spread salt all over the road. Crap, this was not a good thing for my feet at all. Oh well, grin and bear it, because it was going to be over soon.  As I raced to the finish line with my tutu fluttering in the wind, all I could do was smile, I know it was not a official race but it felt pretty good to be way ahead of some really good runners.

Coming into the finish line
Photo Credits: Stephen Anderson-Lindsay Photography

Sporting a Kate Kift Original
and a Grin From Ear To Ear
Photo Credits: Stephen Anderson-Lindsay Photography
I crossed the imaginary finish line and continued around the last 300m back to my housecoat and mukluks, by that time the salt on my feet were starting to take a toll on my feet. It is amazing, I can run barefoot in snow and cold temps in the -30's with no issue, but though some salt into the mix and it just eats my feet. Luckily it was a short run so no real damage done, just a couple of blisters that developed on my little toes.

Here's to another great Polar Bare Run, I know I will be back to take it on again next year. If you want to try something different and fun, this might be for you. Come on out and join us.

Here are some more pictures from the event, courtesy of Kelly Morton Photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Captain Swamp Donkey, John Ford
Sporting The Canadian Winter Fur Hat Special
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Cathy still smiling as she finishes this thing off
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Hey your going the wrong way
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Beach Wear vs. Formal Wear
and A Very Strategically Placed Arm
(Made you look, yes he had a speedo on)
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Awesome spirit from these two young girls
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

Older doesn't mean wiser
She was definitely smartly dressed.
Photo Credits: Kelly Morton Photography

A parting shot, Cathy, Aldo and Myself
Post Race
What A Great Morning For A Run.
You can also check out my article in Canadian Running Magazine Online at the following link, Breaking In A New Year: Polar Bare Style

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