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Calgarians hold shirtless run to help homeless: ‘People thought I was crazy!’

Click to play video: 'Calgarians hold ‘shirtless run’ to help the homeless: ‘People thought I was crazy!’' Calgarians hold ‘shirtless run’ to help the homeless: ‘People thought I was crazy!’
WATCH: Even on our coldest days, getting outside for a bit of exercise is usually doable as long as you bundle up. But as Gil Tucker shows us, some Calgarians are braving the elements while definitely not dressed for the weather – Jan 24, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Airdrie seniors bring winter warmth to Calgary homeless shelter

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.

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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.

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Fluctuating temperatures challenging for Edmonton’s most vulnerable – Jan 23, 2019

“We’re so thankful to have the warmth of our houses, our cars and everything like that,” Van Engelen said.

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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.”

READ MORE: Calgary kids knit toques for the homeless: ‘A Christmas gift for them’

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.”

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