It was -21 C and snow from a recent blizzard was piled on the roads and sidewalks when Roldan Valentino laced up his running shoes and embarked on his first outdoor winter run this past November.
“It was chilly for the first five minutes and, after that, I was getting warmer,” recalls Valentino, who moved to Lanigan from the Philippines for work in 2014.
The cold temperature and icy sidewalks invigorated Valentino and these days he runs outside regularly regardless of what the Saskatchewan winter throws at him. He loves being able to see how winter changes the view of his small town or the city.
“I have to be prepared with three things for winter running: materially, physically and mentally to be able to brave the cold climate,” he says. “I am wearing the right winter clothing from Brainsport and I think I am physically and mentally ready with a positive attitude.”
Valentino, 37, started running indoors a little over a year ago by jogging on the spot because he doesn’t own a treadmill and he thought it was too cold for him to run outside. It was an initial step to lose weight and control his high blood pressure.
After 12 months of regular running, Valentino lost 10 kilograms (22 pounds), gained muscle and got his blood pressure under control. Plus, he gained a love of running.
Valentino started running outdoors in the spring of 2020, but was plagued by bunion injuries. A doctor advised him to take a break from running and Valentino was crushed; he didn’t know if he would ever be able to run again without pain. Then, he walked into Brainsport.
Staff member Harvey Weber worked with Valentino and fitted him with a pair of extra-wide shoes to accommodate his bunions. He also talked to Valentino about running form and technique and together they made adjustments to Valentino’s running style to put less pressure on his bunions.
“It took me 1.5 months to re-start running again. I applied all of these factors and it was successful because I was able to run again without pain,” Valentino says.
Months later, Weber helped Valentino select his first winter running clothes so Valentino would be able to run outside year-round.
Having months of injury-free running behind him is a personal victory for Valentino. When he was 22 years old, he took the qualifying exam to enter the Philippino military. Even though he passed, he got injured after overtraining for the physical exam and had to withdraw his name.
“I think I was susceptible to injuries back then because I was not wearing the right sized running shoes and I had no sources like Brainsport,” he says.
Valentino hopes he might be able to run in a race this year if in-person races return. But for now, he’s happy to race himself, logging faster and faster times as he ventures outdoors no matter the weather.
Do you know someone in Saskatchewan who has a story about how running has affected their lives? Email Brainsport Times editor Andrea Hill at email@example.com.