Ottawa Winterman 10k 14/02/2016 - By Linda Newton

It Can’t Be as Cold as Last Year!

Winterman 2015. Remember it?  I posted a video clip of the start last year – no faces only bodies with every possible part covered, and then covered again to protect themselves against the -40C temperature.  Somehow Eastern Canada missed the memo about global warming last year.  The Ottawa running year started out with 20 days below -20C before mid-February.  This intrepid Eagle should have known better as we were in the midst of the coldest winter on record, but no, she ran Winterman 2015 and lived to write about it!

Where is this going you ask?  Wait for it...

Winterman 2016 approaches and, thanks to El Nino, we are in the middle of the warmest winter on record.  Only two days below -20C since winter started.  I run in shorts on Christmas Eve and even manage capris a few times in January.  So I sign up, along with hubby, for this year’s event.  After all, it can’t possibly as cold as last year, or can it?

As we progress through the week, the forecast gets colder and colder.  I tell the Pluckies that it will now be -25C; warmer than last year mind you, but still colder than Teresa Connolly’s freezer.  By the time Friday arrives, the ‘do not go outdoors unless you’re stupid’ warning is all over the news.  I wake up Saturday morning only to find my weather app telling me that it’s -25C but it feels like -48C outside thanks to the strong winds. Surely Sunday will be better.

I keep checking my app all day and it doesn’t change and then at 11:00PM the e-mail comes:  **URGENT WINTERMAN UPDATE**.  “While Mother Nature has reared her ugly head, we are still going through with Winterman, but in a revised format!  The late decision to amend the original format has only unfolded in the last 8 hours as we monitored the Environment Canada website which has indicated that the cold spell is not going to subside as originally forecasted.”  The marathon and half marathon have been modified to a separate 10K and the 5K/10K start has been delayed from 8:30 am to 11:00 am.

It’s now Sunday morning and the thermometer reads -28C.  By the time we head off to the run it’s a balmy -25C with a lovely headwind from the west for a windchill of -35C.  So much for the warmest winter on record!  Still, off we head to the start and away we go to the sound of a 125mm howitzer (a big gun).

The course is the same as last year, two out and back 5K loops.  The out is uphill, cold and windy but the sun is shining and it looks like a glorious day otherwise.  The back half is tropical by comparison, with the wind at my back I fly along.  There’s been an ice fog overnight so the trees look like they’ve been painted by Jack Frost.  Unfortunately, it’s now too cold for my camera so I can’t get a picture.  I skip the drinks on the first lap but by lap two some nice warm water is looking good.  Only problem, they left it out too long and it froze along with the Gatorade.  Oh well, only 2.5K to go.

The last two km are great, it has warmed up slightly, or at least I have, and I cross the finish line with a final sprint.  Bring on Winterman 2017.  It can’t be as cold as this year!