Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Edmonton Trail Runners go for a long run with various elevations along the trails in the River Valley in Edmonton, on Nov. 21, 2020.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Sheryl Savard of Edmonton recites a mantra to herself over and over again when running outside on some of the coldest winter days.

“All it takes is all you got.”

Even when temperatures drop to a nostril-sticking -40 C with the wind and the sun is gone, the 50-year-old and others in the extreme running group she founded bundle up in their warmest wool and quilted layers and head outside.

Story continues below advertisement

Whether there’s rain, snow, sleet or hail, Ms. Savard says they’re out twice a week – Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights – because they need to do what they love the most: running.

Ms. Savard, a privacy officer at MacEwan University, says she also loves a challenge.

“And the other big thing that I’m really enjoying about running is actually the social aspect.”

Ms. Savard started Edmonton Trail Runners six years ago. At the beginning, she says, some members stopped showing up in the winter. But that hasn’t happened this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Savard says she and the other 50 or so members find running outside one of the best ways to have a human connection in a safe way

And the group’s numbers continue to grow, despite the drop in temperatures.

“Normally [people] would have started hibernating, but they’ve just said they’re feeling so isolated,” Ms. Savard says.

Story continues below advertisement

“Last night, there were two girls who are new to our group, new to trails, and [were for the] first time running at night and for the first time running in winter. And so they were more hesitant and nervous.

“A couple of us stayed back with them and coached them through how to approach the downhill. So everybody sort of takes care of everybody else.”

The group runs along dozens of trails in the city’s river valley stretching along the North Saskatchewan River.

The paths are usually clear as the runners head out single file at various paces, sometimes in pitch-black darkness. The only thing guiding them is the person in front of them and their bobbing headlamps.

“It’s actually really hard to maintain a consistent pace because of the elevation changes … so we run for time. On Saturdays, it’s always 90 minutes,” says Ms. Savard, adding the longest trail run she has completed was 105 kilometres.

“I always believe in reaching beyond my grasp, and we really encourage that.”

Story continues below advertisement

Sometimes, she adds, there are surprise guests.

“I’ve bumped into like a moose mom six feet away from me that I could have walked under, she was so big, with her two calves. And I’ve seen porcupine and I’ve seen all the deer and the elk and the wolves and the coyotes. And, so when you’re out there and you’re just seeing all this wildlife everywhere, you become very appreciative of nature right in our backyard.”

Despite the mental and physical benefits of the extreme endurance workouts, Ms. Savard says the best part is making friends along the way.

“One of the things I love is we don’t even know what everybody does for a living,” Ms. Savard says.

“My 14-year-old daughter runs with us now and she’s one of our coaches. So some of her friends are 53 years old and other ones 25. And nobody talks about who earns what or who does what for [a] living or what’s your age.

“I think that’s what community was always meant to look like. It’s supposed to be just a collection of people that are like-minded, not necessarily the same age or the same job. So it takes away all those barriers of how we divide up society.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies