On Sunday, Feb. 17th, citizens of Winnipeg braved the -20 C temperatures to participate in the Beat the Cold winter triathlon. Participants not only completed the 5K run, bike and skate at The Forks, they also raised nearly $20,000 for 1JustCity‘s Just a Warm Sleep emergency warming centre.
The race was organized by Luke Rempel, 23, a communications student at Red River College in Winnipeg. “As part of the degree, we have a big independent project to complete and this [Beat the Cold] was it for me,” says Rempel. “I’ve always wanted to help combat poverty in Winnipeg. After getting in touch with 1JustCity and Triathlon Manitoba, they said go for it.”
1JustCity is an organization that works to care for the homeless and low-income population in Winnipeg. The organization helps support outreach sites across the city – in West Broadway, West End and Osborne Village. Their services help support meal programs, outreach services and basic amenities for those living in harsh conditions. Additionally, from January to March the organization helps support an emergency warming centre called Just a Warm Sleep.
Rempel’s Beat the Cold winter triathlon not only got people out, but it generated significant support for the work being done. “Originally, we capped the event at 150, this was based on Triathlon Manitoba’s high of roughly 60 for a winter triathlon,” says Rempel. “But it sold out by January, so we added 50 more spots.” It cost $25 per person for a relay team and $40 per individual registrant. Athletes were then encouraged to set up a fundraising page and help raise awareness.
Based on the winter triathlon’s success, Rempel says he plans on continuing the event in the future. “Shortly, I will be sending out a survey to get some feedback on what we can improve upon in the coming years.”
Marc Fournier, 51, won the triathlon in 46 minutes. In an interview with CBC.ca, Fournier says, “It’s great that we have places for homeless people to stay.”
To donate, you can go to 1JustCity’s website.