With a temperature around -10 C and a stiff breeze blowing, a mid-January Wednesday might not seem like the best day to be on the ridge overlooking Calgary’s Glenmore Reservoir. But it was exactly the winter weather Nate Ernst was looking for.
“When we get a cold day, we’re going to take it,” Ernst said.
Ernst and fellow Calgarians Katelynn Van Engelen and Tyson Linford then proceeded to make things even chillier for themselves by taking off all their outer layers of clothes.
“The idea is to be as exposed as possible,” Ernst said. “For women, they can wear a tank top and sports bra. For the men, shirtless.”
It’s all part of training for an event Ernst has organized: a shirtless run called the Calgary Exposed 5K.
“People thought I was crazy!” Ernst said.
But there’s a method to the madness. The runners will be raising money to help the homeless at Calgary’s Inn From The Cold shelter.
“It’s just a great opportunity to bring awareness,” Ernst said. “Just having the perspective that some people are out here all winter, without shelter or enough clothes to keep themselves warm.”
WATCH BELOW (Jan. 23, 2019): With a spring-like Saturday in the forecast, the warm temperatures are often seen as a bit of a break during the long winter months. But the fluctuating conditions can mean challenges for the city’s vulnerable. Vinesh Pratap reports.
“We’re so thankful to have the warmth of our houses, our cars and everything like that,” Van Engelen said.
“(The run is about) putting ourselves in the shoes of others.”
Ernst put himself in those shoes last year, going shirtless in an organized winter run.
“It was about -15 C,” Ernst said. “I ran about 10 kilometres, was about an hour out in the cold, raised $4,400.”
He’s hoping to help Inn From the Cold again on a much bigger scale now. He’s expecting about 30 people to enter the shirtless run, which takes place Sunday, Feb. 3 in Calgary.
“Keep your mind on the running and not focusing on the cold seems to help a lot,” Linford said. “Just one foot in front of the other and keep going.”