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Special Olympians brave the chilly temperatures for Guardians Half Marathon (12 photos)

'This course has some pretty good variety with lots of stuff to see,' says Brian Waring

Chilly weather greeted runners at the second annual Guardians Half Marathon and five-kilometre run in support of Special Olympics on Sunday morning at OPP headquarters in Orillia, which was where the start and finish lines were located.

Temperatures hovered around 4 degrees just prior to race time. That didn’t keep people away however, as the number of registered participants rose this year to 426. Last year there were 325 runners. 

Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke said he was happy to see the turnout this year and shared his thoughts about the event.

“It’s a wonderful event," he said. "I love how they combine physical activity for a great cause which also involves physical activity, which is Special Olympians.

"I’ve met many of these Olympians over the years and they are amazing ambassadors for our city and they represent us very well," Clarke added. 

Jane Waring was there taking part to support the cause as her son, Brian, takes part in the Special Olympics. She was running in her first 5K race. Brian is also trying out something new, running in his first half marathon.

“I only did the 5K last year," he said. "This course has some pretty good variety with lots of stuff to see. It’s a little chilly, but I don’t feel too cold.”

The course had participants running on the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail and along the lake on Woodland Drive as well as 8 Mile Point Road. A half marathon covers 21 kilometres.