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Manitobans strip clothes in ‘Polar Bare Run’ to usher in a ‘fresh’ new year

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Manitobans strip clothes in ‘Polar Bare Run’ to usher in a ‘fresh’ New Year
Just nine hours into the New Year, dozens stripped down for Winnipeg's annual Polar Bare Run in the hopes of shaking off last year's challenges and starting this year off fresh. Global's Rosanna Hempel has more – Jan 1, 2023

Manitobans stripped their clothes in the ‘Polar Bare Run’ at Assiniboine Park on Sunday to usher in a ‘fresh’ new year.

“It was a rough year because of the pandemic and a lot of the changes that a lot of people had to go through. So hopefully we can leave that year behind us and start with a fresh, new way,” said run co-ordinator Aldo Furlan.

Participants dashed nearly a kilometre in bathing suits and undergarments. This year’s event featured warmer weather than in years past.

“You feel vibrant. You feel that you’re alive,” said Mingdi Zhao, run participant.

Zhao is no stranger to running, but this is her first time braving Winnipeg’s Polar Bare Run.

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The run is a tradition that has returned to Assiniboine Park after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and people could not be happier.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for the last two years because we’d missed out because of the pandemic,” said Jason Bruce, run co-ordinator.

The tradition is about starting fresh, embracing the community, and leaving fears and negative feelings in 2022.

And event organizers say it also serves as a fundraiser for Siloam Mission, a local homeless shelter.

Donation tin at Polar Bare Run. Rosanna Hempel / Global News

“You want to just put some excitement, you know, and motivation to this brand new day in 2023,” said Zhao.

— With files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel

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