The Prince George Iceman race may have been cancelled this year due to frigid temperatures, but thats not stopping Van Bien elementary students from achieving their goal.
Two junior relay teams of 13 Van Bien students, comprised mostly of Grade 7 students and two Grade 6 students, are completing the Iceman course this Friday.
Were pretty excited about it, said Van Biens community school co-ordinator John Giannisis.
Were disappointed we didnt finish [our plan] because of the weather. We had sponsors and jackets and we practised and trained.
Iceman organizers cancelled the multi-sport event on race day Feb. 9 due to -28 C temperatures, which made it unsafe for the 540 competitors and volunteers.
It was only the second time in its 26-year history that the race was cancelled.
Training for the Iceman was serious business for the Van Bien students.
It began in January and included boxing lessons at the Connaught Centre and swimming on Mondays; cross-country skiing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Otway Nordic Centre; running on Fridays and skating in between the sessions.
Giannisis even co-ordinated boot camp sessions in the schools gym for his eager multi-sport athletes.
The training was great, he said, adding it wasnt too difficult to get the students to sign up.
Cross-country skiing was new to all of them and one student went and trained on her own [outside of the school sessions] and we had quite a few skaters and swimmers. We had three runners per team.
As well as getting in shape, Giannisis said the preparation provided some extra benefits for the students. It brought a sense of self-esteem and teamwork to them, he said.
It helps with their emotional and mental health and got them outside and away from their Xbox.
Friday, the students will be at Otway and ready to hit the cross-country trails at 9:30 a.m. for a four-kilometre loop. The runners will take over and jog back into town (five km each on the 10 km route on Otway Rd. and Foothills Blvd.), followed by seven laps of skating at the Outdoor Ice Oval, another five km run and a 400m swim at the Aquatic Centre.
Temperatures on Friday are expected to hover between -1 and -5 C.
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