Four years ago Kip Sigsworth couldn’t believe a marathon ran indoors could become successful.
The Lakehead Thunderwolves cross-country running and indoor track and field head coach didn’t believe enough people would take to the idea of running 211 laps around a track to make it an annual event.
Today, he's happy to be wrong.
The Thunderwolves Indoor Marathon will hold its fifth installment on Feb. 9 inside the Lakehead University Hangar.
“It’s a great event with huge energy and lots of people out and excited to be active,” Sigsworth said at the event’s media conference on Tuesday.
“The weather at this point probably motivates people a little more to be inside and warm doing some running and physical activity.”
The weather, or lack thereof, has played a significant role in the event’s popularity. Conditions are guaranteed to be flat, warm and without wind.
That allows casual runners to get engaged in running during what can normally be considered off-months and turn the sport into a full-year activity.
“It fills a bit of a void in the calendar and it’s some good motivation for people after the new year that haven’t been doing as much in December but want to get back so that early February date gives them a chance to get active,” Sigsworth said.
In addition to the 42 kilometre distance there is also a half-marathon, 10 kilometre and a marathon relay to provide an option for runners of all abilities.
Organizers focus on creating an atmosphere that is fun and inclusive to encourage new participants in order of helping the sport grow.
“When they come out they realize this event is not intimidating and there are others at their level,” he said. “It’s a fun thing to do as opposed to a scary competitive thing.”
Last year’s event raised $12,000 in support of Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, an organization that works with children’s mental health.
Children’s Centre executive director Diane Walker cited a statistic that states one in five children will cope with a mental health issue but said it might not tell the full story.
“I sometimes wonder if it’s more than that, particularly when children are moving through transitions or families are having difficulties,” Walker said.
The Children’s Centre serves some of the most high need and high risk kids, we’re talking kids that are struggling with depression and anxiety and have thoughts of suicide or harming themselves.”
“It’s better to mend, build and support strong children than it is to fix broken adults,” she added
Information can be found on the event website.
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