No matter how frigid the weather, some individuals are determined to stick to their fitness routines.
For the Eden Prairie-based Minnesota Snow Wolves Running Club, weekly running and walking are integral to their lives, even during winter. Whether outside at their “base” around Purgatory Creek and Staring Lake parks or indoors at domes around the west metro, the club remains committed to staying active.
The Minnesota Snow Wolves Running Club was founded in 2013 by four Chinese Americans. Its goal is to foster friendship by encouraging a fun and healthy lifestyle. Since its inception, the club’s membership has increased, and several members have taken part in running races at both the state and national levels.
When asked about running in challenging weather conditions, Huaping Wang, a club member and organizer, stated, “the harsher the weather … the more accomplished I feel after finishing the run.”
Wang also emphasized the importance of safety while running and advised runners to avoid stepping on pebbles or small ice pieces as they can easily result in injuries such as a sprained ankle.
To prepare for running in the cold, Wang suggests wearing a windbreaker with two to three layers of clothes, as well as keeping the head, neck, hands, and feet warm at all times. He recommends a beanie, neck gaiter, gloves, shoes with less mesh, and Smartwool socks.
Above all, he emphasized that the club prioritizes the safety of its members, which is why the club avoids running in sub-zero temperatures. Although the cold weather is not the primary appeal for members, the club’s weekly Saturday runs have attracted new participants.
Most Snow Wolves Running Club members joined through invitations from current members, often at special events or the club’s weekly Saturday morning runs. The club welcomes runners of all paces and speeds, regardless of their experience level, as many current members initially joined without any running experience.
Wang said about 30% of the 100 members have participated in notable marathon races such as Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth or the Boston Marathon. Besides marathons, many club members have also taken part in long-distance Ragnar relay races since 2017. While some runners compete in races, most run for health and wellness.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club has seen a continued rise in membership, with runners joining not only from Eden Prairie but also from nearby cities such as Edina, Plymouth, and Woodbury. Wang has been particularly encouraged by the increase in young runners joining the club, stating that they “bring in new ideas and energy, which is great.”
Wang said that one of his favorite aspects of the club is the opportunity to “catch up with friends” while on hour-long runs, especially if they can run at the same pace. He also emphasized that special events like the Chinese New Year runs, the yearly Snow Wolves spring races, and the summer family and friends running BBQ are all highlights for club members.
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