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St John’s: The new found land for trail running

Icy winter conditions on the east coast doesn't stop the trail running community in St. John's, Newfoundland

What began as a casual trail running get together, has become an explosion in St. John’s, Nfld. Accomplished trail runner Katie Wadden began an evening trail running group with the intention of sharing her love of east coast trail running with her community and the world. Each Monday night, seven to eight runners show up and run with a headlamp in the dark. This weekend, Wadden is leading a trail run in the daylight in order to grow the Newfoundland trail running community. The interest has been phenomenal. 

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Beginner Winter Trail Run

This Saturday, Feb 2 Wadden and her friends are hosting a Beginner Winter Trail Run in St. John’s. So far, over 100 people have expressed interest, with over 20 registered. “I didn’t realize we would have this many people.” Wadden explains. 

Crampon love

The current trail conditions in Newfoundland are extremely icy. Being on the coast means the conditions are constantly changing. One day there is a blizzard and 30cm of snow, and the next day there is freezing rain and sunshine. Wadden, who loves running outside, often found it challenging to continue trail running throughout the winter. These days, she is grateful for her crampons. She believes crampons have made winter trail running more accessible to everyone. “I feel completely invincible running with them on all winter conditions. For me, it’s been a game changer.”

Photo: JP Mullowney

Trail running passion

If you ever have the privilege of running with Wadden, you will immediately feel her love and passion for the trails. “I absolutely love it. It’s almost like a different sport [than road running] due to the varied conditions you experience. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and a crazy heart pounding workout. I’m inspired to organize this beginners group run because winter trail running has allowed me to keep the joy in my training. The winters are hard and long in Newfoundland, and for me personally, I need to find ways to get outside and help me get through it! Trail running has been the answer.”

Saturday, Feb 2

This Saturday, the group is meeting on the White Hill mountain bike trails at 8:30 a.m. The goal is to guide people of all running abilities through trails they may have never ran on before, and in winter conditions. Wadden is also keen to provide support and motivation. “We want to open their eyes and feet to a whole new way to enjoy the east coast winter! It’s free and open to anyone.”

RELATED: 10 secrets of winter trail running

Photo: JP Mullowney

What’s next

Runners have the option of donating for each group run, which will contribute to trail building and maintenance efforts often completed by local mountain bikers. Find the group on Facebook as NL Trail Running Group. There currently 435 members. 

Photo credit: JP Mullowney