The climate at Snye Point parkrun, Fort McMurray, is one of the most inhospitable in the world. But despite blizzards and polar vortexes, Event Director Borrey Kim explains how regular participant Sajith warms his heart.
A full on polar vortex has rolled into Fort McMurray and the streets are empty. Jess and I always wonder how many people will brave the cold to come out to participate in this week’s parkrun. We’ve been clear that as long as we can find volunteers and we can ensure the safety of the volunteers and runners, we feel confident that runners will come prepared for the weather.
At 8am I get a message from regular runner Sajith, asking if the run is a go. I confirm yes, parkrun is a go!
One of the best parts of my week is cheering in runners of our parkrun as they come into the finish line. Every week when Sajith crosses the line, with his smile and arms up in the air, his positivity warms my heart more than any cold weather could keep me away.
I recently took a second to get to know him a bit more with the hopes to absorb a bit more of his wonderful and quiet but radiant energy.
From Thrissur India, a place that doesn’t get below +18C, to Fort McMurray Sajith found the cold challenging. It’s been over a decade since he’s been here, but before coming out to Snye Point parkrun he could barely imagine himself going for a walk in the cold, let alone completing a 5km run! Now he’s crushing them as a part of his morning routine (currently followed by a warm hot tub and a 2hour badminton session). His secrets are to not overdress “just enough to keep you away from frostbite,” a high calorie meal 1 hour before the run, to stay hydrated and shoes with grip.
Wait, what? A 2 hour badminton session?
Yes! Sajith sees the run as a way to keep him healthy and in tip top shape for tennis, badminton or cricket. He tells me about how another gem in town is the tennis courts and that we should check them out. They’re free, maintained and even have people that can help beginners get started. Adding to his love for sport, he practices yoga. He has even published a book with his wife Lekha “Yoga for Children”.
You can see that he embodies much of the spirit of parkrun. He also runs with no real pursuit of racing, he runs for the pure joy of it. I asked him if he could run anywhere (race or location) and his response was that he would definitely like to participate in parkrun anywhere he goes. No specific interest in a race – he just loves to parkrun! Mostly because he enjoys being surrounded by the positive energy of others and meeting like minded people.
He values staying physical fit and you can see it as he crushes his weekly run in the sun, rain, snow or wind. He also instills these values to his children and he brings them along when he can. He would like to share parkrun with those around him, especially those with diabetes and heart disease in hopes it will help them.
I just wanted to share with you how fortunate I am to see Sajith run each week and if you have a chance to meet someone like him take a moment to share a smile – it will warm any cold winter weekend!
By Borrey Kim, Snye Point parkrun Event Director
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