April 11

Rebecca Wright
Mar 23, 2014 - 7:24 PM EDT
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2014 - 10:17 AM EDT

Although Thursday was the first day of spring, runners in this year’s Spring Thaw 5-km race Sunday were bundled up like it was a brisk winter day.

And while in the past week, the area has experienced sporadic spring-like temperatures –providing some temporary relief to Windsorites after this year’s treacherous polar vortex– Old Man Winter was out to prove he’s not quite ready to depart the region Sunday.

At race time, the temperature in Riverside, where the event was held, was -8 C. With the wind chill, it felt like -15 C.

“I hate this, really. This cold is just ridiculous,” said Greg Dufour, who ran in the event for the third time Sunday. Dufour wore gloves and a ski mask and said motivation for Sunday’s race was definitely his warm car waiting for him parked near the finish line.

“But at least it’s waking me up,” said Dufour, looking for an upside to the below zero weather. “As soon as I got outside, I perked right up and didn’t even need a coffee.”

The event, put on by The Running Factory, raises money each year for Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

Also running in the event for the third time, Scott Hamel said he had to tap his phone a couple of times Sunday morning to make sure it was working properly because he couldn’t believe how cold the temperature was reading.

“It’s more like spring freeze because by the time the race is done, my legs are stiff,” said Hamel, who was dressed in three layers and a toque. “But it’s only 5K, so it won’t kill us.”

Before the races began, the crowd bobbed and swayed as runners continually moved – hopping and jogging – to keep warm.

Race director and co-owner of The Running Factory Greg Belanger said Sunday’s plummeting temps probably caused a lot of runners to stay home and sit this year’s run out.

But he said it was still a good turnout, and about 400 runners participated in one of the events three races – the kids 200-meter dash, the 1 km or 5 km.

“This run is kind of like a season-opener, kind of the first race of the year,” Belanger said. “It’s a time to shake out the cobwebs and people look forward to it because after the winter – and especially this year’s long and cold winter – people like to see where their at.”

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tags: hospice, spring, thaw, run