This Montrealer jogs to work in winter wearing shorts
TORONTO -- A Montreal man is going the extra distance to get to and from work.
Some commuters navigate the bridges and streets of Montreal in warm vehicles, but Joan Roch has spent the last five winters jogging 10 kilometres from the South Shore to his computer programming job downtown.
"It takes me around an hour from home to work, and an hour back, so it is not much longer than the subway, and seeing nothing. So it's really worth it," Roch said in an interview with CTV's Montreal Bureau Chief Genevieve Beauchemin.
While winter running isn't unusual in Canada, Roch's route is.
Roch runs across a frozen stretch of the St. Lawrence River because the pedestrian path on the Jacques Cartier Bridge above the icy waters closes during the winter months.
According to the federal agency that manages the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the multipurpose path and sidewalk closes in the winter because weather conditions can make the surface dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. Those who do cross the bridge risk getting a $48 to $128 ticket.
Roch says running on the iced-over river is a risk but he errs on the side of caution, waiting for a stretch of freezing cold days before his first attempt at crossing.
"The first time I go on it is always the scariest because I am not sure if the ice is thick enough, so I have to rely on fishermen to tell me if it is fine," said Roch.
Roch says he wears shorts during his commute to make the journey more comfortable, despite the chilling temperatures.
"Sometimes when I get to work my shoes are transformed into blocks of ice, so it takes a while to get them off," he said.
A pilot project is currently underway to re-evaluate whether the multipurpose path on the Jacques Cartier Bridge can be safely used in the winter under refined "maintenance, monitoring and communications protocols."
Until then, Roch insists that the exercise and views of his jog are unbeatable.
"Crossing the ice sometimes it is tough, but it is like a change of sights," Roch said. "The lights that you can see the snow and the ice; it really is a completely different world."