Sunday, November 20, 2016

Those Rascally Turtles. What are they up to now?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Meade

Those rascally Turtles, what are they up to now? 

I have a friend who cycle-commutes to work everyday all year, regardless of the weather.  When asked why he does this he replies casually "I'm just trying to change the world" and then adds without a hint of sarcasm or spite "Why do you drive your car"?  

I thought it an odd response, but in reflection it speaks precisely to the Meade quote above. We all have it in ourselves to make the world a better place, to improve the quality of life, indeed to change the world. It is a series of small, thoughtful acts of kindness that make this tired old world spin smoothly. 

So I started using that line when asked why I cycle or run to work,

"I want to change the world" and then I would add "and besides, it makes me feel good".

That's what our friends the Turtles want; nothing short of changing the world and feeling good in the process.

The Turtles are a group of trail runners that meet several times weekly to run city trails and country trails. They may call themselves Turtles, but in reality they're a pretty serious group of experienced ultra-runners. They love life like no others, they exude positive energy, and they spread joy to all those who share the trails. 

A few founding Turtle members were running at Garbage Hill the other day and noticed the unsightly trash in the tall grass along the many trails.  The hill is named for the garbage below the surface, not the stuff on top!  They have organized a "Un-garbage Garbage Hill" campaign for Sunday, November 27, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Facebook event page is here and their message is below.

Please come and support this campaign of love and kindness. You too can change the world and feel great in the process.

It's a good day to be alive.


Garbage Hill unsightly trails.

Calling all runners & lovers of Garbage Hill! 

Winnipeg's hill training capital is a disgrace. Many members of our community spend multiple hours pounding out the miles on the road & trails at the, currently very aptly named, "Garbage Hill". As you can see from the cover photo, there are some who do not seem to appreciate the importance of this special Winnipeg spot & have chosen to litter freely. We invite you to come for a run & help us clean up the hill before the winter weather sets in & we have soppy trash in the spring.

Come for an hour or the afternoon, but please come.

Please bring:

  • family, 
  • friends, 
  • garbage bags, 
  • disposable gloves
  • a winning attitude!

To any truck owners who would be willing to haul away filled bags, that would be great!
Please share, share, share!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

An open letter to Councillors Scott Gillingham and Cindy Gilroy

Dear Councillors Gillingham and Gilroy;

I am writing on behalf of hundreds of Winnipeg runners who train year round on Winnipeg streets and trails.  Perhaps you've seen us; we're on the roads at 6 AM, we run through blizzards and squalls, ice and heat, sunny ways and foreboding skies.  We are your average Joes and Josephines, we were at ground zero of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are ultra marathoners, we run in wheelchairs, we are Ironmen, we run to lose weight, we are survivors of cancer and strokes, we run to be sane in a complicated world. We believe all days are good for running, some are just better than others.

Part of our training includes weekly hill workouts.  Hill training builds strength, endurance and prepares us psychologically for the challenges ahead.  It's hard to find a hill in this neck of the woods, but fortunately the old city dump, Westview Park, affectionately known as Garbage Hill, is the 'go to' hill for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of outdoor enthusiasts.  Garbage Hill is a diamond in the rough and has significant potential as a year round mecca for active Winnipeggers.

There are seven elements to Garbage Hill (see here).  I draw your attention to the most common element, the Loop.  The Loop measures 0.8 km from the south gate, 'loop' around the cul de sac on top of the hill, and return to gate (see photographs below).

Garbage Hill, The Loop 
(approximately 0.8 km)
Start at south gate.
Round corner facing east.
Up the straight, due north.
Round the cul de sac at the top and return to gate.

The Loop is virtually inaccessible to pedestrian traffic in winter months because it remains unplowed for months on end. It's especially treacherous in the spring season with the the endless freeze-thaw cycle rendering the hill dangerous let alone inaccessible.  This is unfortunate because many outdoor enthusiasts train year round for spring running and walking events including our very own Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg Police Services half-marathon, and the Spruce Woods Ultra-marathon.  Many others just like to meet up with friends to "pound a few hills" before meeting for a beverage and bite at a local establishment.  

Westview Park straddles the boundaries of Daniel McIntyre Ward and St. James Brooklands Ward. As councillors with shared responsibility of Westview Park you are in a position to improve the quality of life for many. 

This blogger respectfully asks you to consider plowing the Loop portion of Westview Park with a sidewalk plow with the same frequency to plow other sidewalks in the vicinity. This would make the Loop accessible year round and would greatly speed up the spring melt along the entire roadway.  

Winnipeg is a winter city. Our citizens are hearty and we embrace the cold. Plowing a 0.8 km strip of Garbage Hill is a small price when compared to the health benefits and the sheer enjoyment of citizens who access the hill year round.  Garbage Hill is Winnipeg's Kilimanjaro, our little bump in the middle of the finest city in Canada. 

In summary:
  • Garbage Hill straddles Daniel McIntyre ward and St. James Brooklands Park.
  • Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts including runner, walkers, families, tobogganers, cyclists, dog lovers, and many others access Garbage Hill year round.
  • The Loop is a 0.8 km section of the paved roadway and is the most common element of the hill.  
  • This blogger requests City of Winnipeg plow The Loop with a sidewalk plow at the same frequency sidewalks are plowed in the vicinity of Garbage Hill. 
  • It's a good day to be alive.
Please reply at your convenience. Your letter(s) will be published on See Mike Run as a follow up to this post. 

With Respect,