DAYTON, Ohio – A stretch of extreme winter weather isn’t enough to sideline Miami Valley runners. Close to 700 people are participating in a challenge to run or walk at least one mile outside every day from January 6th to February 17th.
Dayton company Up and Running is hosting the six week Frozen Feet Streak initiative for the first time this year. All together, participants are aiming to tally at least 8,096 miles: the distance if one were to travel to Winter Olympics host city Pyeonchang, South Korea.
“It’s all about getting out in the cold,” said Up and Running coach Mary Louise Beeman.
Beeman explained it’s also about maintaining healthy habits during the coldest time of year.
Tuesday, she joined other runners Tina Moronell, Sharon Rahe and Nettie Zeppettella for a jaunt around Sugarcreek Metropark. The women said they were grateful for Tuesday’s relatively warm temperatures, but icy trails forced them to slow their pace.
“This past weekend was really, really cold so that was a challenge,” said Moronell. “And once it warmed up, now we have the ice to contend with.”
The women said staying comfortable in winter conditions comes down to dressing the part. All were wearing hats, gloves and something to cover their mouths and some were wearing traction cleats.
Rahe said, “We do a lot of layers and anything to cover the mouth, especially when the wind chill gets below zero.”
The runners were among only a handful of people at Sugarcreek MetroPark Tuesday. Some of them said they prefer the peace and quiet a winter time run affords.
“Now it’s perfect. We have the whole park to ourselves. It’s wonderful,” said Zeppettella.
Beeman added, “When you’re in your warm bed, you’re thinking, ‘Six below?’ But once you get out you’re like, ‘Wow I’m so glad I did that.'”
The Up and Running event description says, by the honor system, any participants who fail to run or walk outside for a day during the challenge are “out.” All verified finishers receive a commemorative T-shirt and are invited to attend a party after the February 17th conclusion.