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Walkers from Fort Resolution are racking up the kilometres to be the first to reach Tuk in the second annual Ice Road Walk. - photo courtesy of NWT Recreation and Parks Association

Lacing up for health

Sara Wilson
Northern News Services
Published Monday, January 30, 2012

While some of us might find it challenging to walk from the house to the car in the middle of winter, 618 Northerners aren't blinking an eye at the 1,658 km they've signed up to walk.

Forty-six teams are taking part in the second annual Ice Walk Road Walk, an initiative through the NWT Recreation and Parks Association that encourages walkers to lace up and walk from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk. Not literally, of course.

The Nordic enthusiasts record the kilometres their team accumulates while walking in their community over the nine-week period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 29, competing against teams in 18 communities across the NWT.

Some teams are returning to the challenge with fresh faces and are determined to cross the 'finish line.'

"I wanted to sign up because we did it last year and we did pretty good, I think we came in fourth," said Carol Ann Chaplin, team leader for the Fort Res Nordic Walkers - who have walked just shy of 200 km. "It's a good way to exercise and just get out there socially ... it's nice to get out there in a group of people and walk, catch up and you kind of forget how cold it is, or how far we're walking."

Braving the freezing temperatures doesn't seem to be a deterrent for Chaplin and her teammates.

"It's actually quite surprising because once you're out there and moving around it's not that cold," Chaplin said. "Actually, we have some walkers that say that they are sweating."

Regardless of whether her team finishes in top spot, it's all about the social and health benefits for Chaplin.

The health benefits aren't the only draw to the competition, some big prizes are on the table for the winning team.

"Everyone that makes it into Tuk is entered into a draw for flight passes from First Air, a Canada Goose Jacket, northern mittens and a Nintendo Wii Fit," said Sheena Tremblay, active communities co-ordinator for the program.

Teams can track their progress and their standings on the NWT Recreation and Parks Association website.

As of press time, Break Away, a team from Yellowknife, was leading the pack with an impressive 761 km clocked, putting them just outside Norman Wells.

Those wanting to take part in the challenge can still do so by joining an existing team from Feb. 1 to Feb. 10. Interested walkers are asked to contact the NWT Recreation and Parks Association.

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