‘Tis the Season for Cold Weather Running

By EVA DUNN-FROEBIG

Too often, we associate the holidays with laying around, eating, perhaps drinking a little too much alcohol, spending too much time in airports and cars, watching TV, and more eating.

Wouldn’t all of this feel better if we started our holidays off with some exercise? I know I feel better physically and mentally if I incorporate exercise into my day. It’s especially true on Thanksgiving when I know I’m going to spend most of my time indoors eating a lot of rich foods and visiting with friends and relatives.

Run Wild Missoula has opportunities for you to incorporate exercise into your holidays and, as always, we make cold weather running and walking fun!

Kickstart the holiday season with the Turkey Day 8K and 3K Family Fun Run on Thanksgiving Day. The event will be on Thursday, November 24 at 9:30 a.m. Races start near Toole Park on the Riverfront Trail. (That’s near the dirt track that Hellgate High School uses and at the end of 4th St. East.) Race Director Courtney Babock has added a 3K Family Fun Run to the event, making it available to all running and walking abilities.

A cold start to the 2010 Turkey Day Fun Run. Photo by Neil Chaput deSaintonge.

Bring the entire family, including little ones, down to this fun and affordable event. Everyone gets a pair of Turkey Day gloves. Top finisher and door prizes will be given in the form of food, including two pumpkin pies donated by Break Espresso for the top male and female finishers.

The weather is unpredictable on Thanksgiving Day, but running and walking in the cold and snow is part of the fun and adventure. After the race is over, you can feel better about spending the rest of your day inside indulging on turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole.

Then there’s Thanksgiving Part II. Well, sort of. Run Wild Missoula’s Chancellor of Libations, Pat Cross, has designated the November Beer Run an annual fried chicken feast. The Beer Run will commence at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30 at Double Front Chicken. After running five miles, you can feel OK about eating chicken and drinking a beverage in the Double Front Chicken Lounge in the lower level of the restaurant.

Chancellor Pat Cross also has a Christmas Lights Beer Run planned for us on Wednesday, December 28 at 6 p.m. We’re hoping the weather won’t be as brisk as last year’s December Beer Run. Last year, we were happy to be inside at Fat Cat Pizza to warm up our faces and hands after the windy, snowy run. Details about the December Beer Run are coming soon, but Pat says the run will be in the same general area as last year because it’s the best place in town to view Christmas lights. Check runwildmissoula.org for more details.

If you’d rather not run or walk outdoors, we have indoor options during the holidays as well. Run Wild Missoula will host an aqua jog class and holiday pool party at Currents on Friday, December 9 from 5:30 until 8 p.m. Two classes will be offered: One at 5:30 p.m. and one at 6:15 p.m. Participation will be offered at a first-come first-serve basis. Arrive early to ensure your spot in these classes.

For those not interested in aqua jogging, the Currents facilities will be available for use, including the zero-entry kids area, lazy river and water slides. Run Wild Missoula will provide holiday treats in the party room adjacent to the pool for this family event.

Good thing he's got a beard. Photo by Neil Chaput deSaintonge.

Finally, the New Year’s Eve 2-Mile Run is also an indoor event. It’ll take place at Peak Health and Wellness Center. Even if you already have plans for New Year’s Eve, you can fit a 2-mile run into your schedule!

The event will take place in the early evening, giving you time to celebrate the New Year late into the evening if you wish. The indoor run makes winter running pleasant and is a rare opportunity to race on an indoor track. Best of all this event is free to Run Wild Missoula members (or free with a First Night button) and there are refreshments and door prizes for everyone.

Awards have not been given to the top finishers of the New Year’s Eve Run in the past, but this year the race will be a “prediction run.” This means you will have to predict your anticipated time before beginning the run. There will be no clock and participants won’t be allowed to wear a watch. Whoever finishes in a time closest to their predicated time will receive a special prize.

We hope to see you at one or all of these holiday events. Keep running, stay motivated, and have fun!

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Stay in the loop with Missoula’s running community! Check out the Run/Walk It archives for more posts from Eva and other Missoula runners and walkers.

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Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.