Running North of 60 (and below zero)

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North of 60Almost immediately after learning that work was sending me to Yellowknife for a few days, I went online to find out the best running routes in town. Because, what a great experience running north of 60!

I have been to Yellowknife once before, but the circumstances were different:

  1. It was July.
  2. The days were about 22 hours long.
  3. It was about 20 degrees.

So when I went for a run, I chose the scenic trail around Frame Lake – nearly getting lost in the process – and also explored Old Town with my coworker, who was willing to run with me.

This time, although it’s April, there is still snow and ice, and the temperatures are below zero. The days are getting longer, to be sure, but not necessarily a lot warmer. The folks at Overlander Sports promptly responded to my email and recommended some routes, and I received some sage wisdom from a local runner via Twitter.

In the end, however, I decided to go with my gut and do ‘The Loop’ – a 10km route encircling the outskirts of town.

The Loop

All day, I was itching to get out and run. I had all of my gear (mostly purchased during my January visit to Barrie, Ontario in minus 22 weather) laid out the night before. As soon as I got to the hotel, I changed my clothes and headed out.

From the Explorer Hotel, the route heads north along the eastern edge of Frame Lake, on Highway 4. So, yes, I was running on the side of a highway. About 2 kilometres in, I turned left onto Highway 3 (to continue on would have led me to the Ingraham Trail, which heads east for 70km into the wilderness…and then ends). This was a mildly terrifying corner because, while Yellowknifers don’t tend to drive very fast, they couldn’t really see me. Here’s a view back along the road:

So scenic!
So scenic!

But just a bit further along I looked out over (frozen) Jackfish Lake, and got this view – and selfie:

North of 60 North of 60

I started feeling smug and hard core for running in these ‘challenging’ conditions. Then I turned south onto Old Airport Road and *BLAM* the wind hit like a wall. Bitter cold, biting wind.

Why, oh why didn’t I bring my neck warmer??

What was I thinking? All of these drivers must think I’m a complete idiot.

Who runs in Yellowknife anyway??

Finally, about 2 kilometres further along, I turned a corner, the wind died down – and there was a sidewalk! No more trudging along the side of the highway for this boy!

There was a questionable moment at a fairly dramatic intersection where I got a bit turned around, but a quick Google Map search got me reoriented. I was also thankful I had brought along the Lindt chocolate left on my hotel pillow – I needed a pick-me-up!

The final 3km of my run took me back through town, where I snapped a pic of the iconic YK Centre temperature:

North of 60
What? Only minus 6??

And finally, at the 10km mark, I was so excited about the Arctic Char fish & chips I was planning to have for dinner, I took one more selfie:

North of 60

While certainly not one of the most scenic routes I’ve ever run, it is officially my most northern run – and another great experience of Yellowknife – running North of 60!

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