If you want to stay active outdoors despite the frigid temps, the Gate City Striders have a race or five for you. The 2017 Freeze Your Buns series, featuring five 5K-length runs, kicks off Sunday, Jan. 8, at 9 a.m. Additional races are planned for Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Feb. 19 and March 5.
Each of the races begins at Stellos Stadium in Nashua before looping around Nashua High School South three times and coming back toward the starting line, ending at the Conway Arena for refreshments.
“The purpose of the series is to give people some motivation in the really cold dead of winter, but it also helps us raise money for the club to put on some of the bigger races that are held throughout the year,” race director Jessica Greenwood said.
Greenwood said the races are nearly always held as scheduled regardless of the weather conditions, except in extreme cases of snow or ice just before the start time.
“We pretty much keep running unless there’s a legitimate danger,” she said. “Other than that, we have volunteers that put sand down on the corners [of the route]. … A lot of the road is on sidewalks. We don’t cross roads. … We’ve never cancelled for cold, and we’ve kept running even if it is snowing.”
Runners will gather at the Conway Arena at the end of each race to warm up with hot chocolate, water, donuts and coffee.
The Gate City Striders has more than 600 active members participating in races across southern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley. The club hosts other running series and programs throughout the year, including the Mine Falls Trail Series, a “Fitness University” running camp in the summer for kids, and the Gate City Marathon, a race held in May that began in 2015.
Each of the Freeze Your Buns races is open to all age groups, and you don’t need to be a Gate City Striders member to participate. All you need is weather-appropriate race attire and footwear and a small entry fee to run.
The cost is $5 per race for adults ages 19 and older and $3 per race for kids and teens ages 18 and under. Runners do not have to participate in all five races, but pre-registration rates for the whole series are available at $20 for adults and $12 for kids. No strollers or dogs are allowed on the route.
If you do run all five races and finish as a top scorer, you’ll have a chance to win a raffle prize at an after-race ceremony following the concluding race of the series in March. Awards will be given out to the top male and female point scorers for the age groups of 10 and under, 11 to 14, 15 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80 and older.
Results from each race in the series will be posted on coolrunning.com.