Santa’s helpers hit pavement

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Sherry, left, and Gilles Ringuette lead the pack as they start off from the Don Stewart Recreation Centre Saturday afternoon for the first annual Santa Clause Fun Run to support the Hay River Soup Kitchen.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Sherry, left, and Gilles Ringuette lead the pack as they start off from the Don Stewart Recreation Centre Saturday afternoon for the first annual Santa Clause Fun Run to support the Hay River Soup Kitchen.

While most holiday traditions involve indoor feats of gastronomic endurance, some are looking to kick off a new and healthier Christmas custom this year.

“Sometimes we need an event to motivate us to get up and out of the house,” said organizer Sherry Ringuette. “I asked the Hay River running club what they thought of a holiday fun run, and the consensus was that December was better than January.”

The weather was fine Saturday and the streets mostly cleared as seven runners took off from the Don Stewart Recreation Centre. Decked in Santa hats and reindeer antlers, they ran from the rec centre to Chamber Park and back, where hot chocolate and snacks awaited them. Admission to the run was a donation to the Hay River Soup Kitchen, which also serves as a food bank.

“We were in Inuvik for three years, so this is a nice change,” said Gilles Ringuettte, Sherry’s husband.

The couple already runs in the winter-time, but said they also saw the value in getting together as a group and having an event to promote health and activity in the winter.

“It’s also a nice opportunity to do something good in the community,” said Sherry. “The soup kitchen is such a great organization.”

Recreation programmer Emma Harper said she always appreciates it when members of the community come forward to suggest and help organize events.

“It can sometimes get harder for people to stay active in the winter,” she said. “It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s easy to just stay home, so it’s fun to offer an event that promotes getting out and being active in the community.”

The recreation department offers a wide variety of programs, both indoors and out, for residents over the course of the winter, but Harper said it’s always nice to create a little excitement with one-off events like the fun run.

Sherry said she would have been ecstatic with 10 participants, and with seven total showing up, she wasn’t far off the mark. With the event a success, she said she would like to see more of its kind cropping up in the calendar. With the triathlon and Terry Fox Run in the fall and summer, she sees a gap for runners who are willing to brave the colder temperatures.

“I’m thinking we might try to organize one in March or April,” she told the Hub. “Maybe something for St. Patrick’s day or Easter or something. It’s all about staying active and getting together as a community, and fun runs are a great way to do that.”

-Sarah Ladik