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Donating heavy metal
Fitness society aims to send equipment to Kiv community

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rankin Inlet Fitness Society is hoping to help some person, team or group in another Kivalliq community set up shop with its own fitness facility.

NNSL photo/graphic

Calm Air has agreed to partner with Ford Widrig and his partners at the Rankin Inlet Fitness Centre to donate a selection of used gym equipment to another Kivalliq community in Rankin on Aug. 20, 2015. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The Rankin fitness centre is being renovated and running out of space with more brand-new equipment coming in.

Society members Evan Morrison, Ford Widrig and Gavin Gee are reaching out to other communities and offering to donate a sizeable amount of used, but fully functional, exercise equipment to anyone who can put it to good use.

Ideally, the Rankin group would like to see someone in the Kivalliq use the equipment to start their own fitness facility or improve upon an existing one.

The available equipment includes a leg press, bench press, leg raise/chin-up machine, two elliptical machines, two preacher curl machines, an E-Z curl bar, a mini Bowflex, two multi-purpose benches, and a weight tree with free weights ranging from 2.5 to 25 pounds.

Calm Air has agreed to partner with the Rankin Inlet Fitness Society in the endeavour, and will ship the equipment to any Kivalliq community starting its own fitness facility.

Morrison said the society owes Calm Air, which does a lot for Kivalliq communities, a big thank you for agreeing to ship the equipment to another hamlet.

He said the society checked around Rankin first, but no other facility really needed the equipment.

"The high school has what it needs and the RCMP has its own gym, but we feel we'd rather donate it to a community that has nothing and really wants to get something going," said Morrison.

"I look at communities like Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet, just for example, and I think it would be great if someone got a fitness facility going in those communities.

"The equipment is all used, but it's in good shape and functioning the way it's supposed to.

"There's still a lot of good miles left on that equipment, and we'd really like to be able to give something back for all the support we've received in Rankin to establish our fitness facility."

Widrig said when he came to Rankin a little more than three years ago, there was a small gym at Nunavut Arctic College's Kivalliq Hall.

He said eventually that became unavailable and they were removed.

"At that point, I had a squat rack in my living room and Evan (Morrison) eventually built a small gym in his garage," said Widrig.

"We worked out there for quite awhile and that was pretty crazy because it was an unheated garage.

"So it was kind of nutty in the winter, going in to work out at -30 C.

"We called it Five Degree Fitness because that was the warmest we ever managed to get it with a couple of space heaters."

The three friends persisted in chasing their dream of having a real fitness facility in Rankin, and that dream finally became a reality in March 2014.

Widrig said keeping the operation going since then, and trying to constantly improve what is has to offer, has been "pretty crazy."

He said things have begun to stabilize a bit these days and they've reached the point where they have surplus equipment.

"We're hoping to find a really good recipient for this equipment.

"Ideally, we'd like to find someone who really needs it to either start up a new facility of their own, or compliment the equipment at an existing facility.

"If not an individual, then I'd like to think there's a recreation department, school or some organization or group out there that can actually make good use of it."

Widrig said he was very pleased when Morrison broke the news to him that Calm Air had agreed to partner with them and ship the equipment.

He said the gesture is very much appreciated.

"Calm Air really stepped up to help us on this one.

"Without the airline's help, I doubt very much if this would be possible.

"It's nice to be able to be generous, but without Calm Air's help it would have been a real financial burden to us to have to pay to ship the equipment to another community."

The Rankin Inlet Fitness Centre continues to do well with the total number of unique visitors to the facility having eclipsed 400.

Widrig said those aren't all returning people but it's a solid number of folks to have visited the gym in a community the size of Rankin.

"A lot of people from town come in, and there's a lot of new faces, as well, with fall here now and people coming and going.

"We see a lot of people from out of town come in when travelling through, and all the feedback we've received has been very positive.

"I've actually had some people, who moved to Rankin from the south, tell me they wouldn't have stayed in Rankin for as long as they have if there wasn't a facility here like this.

"It's been a ton of work in general but it's been very satisfying and people tend to appreciate it."

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