JORDAN CIECIWA, MyToba.ca

I’ve been to Dauphin two times this summer and two times the city has blown me away with their ability to get volunteers, raise money, and create a lasting memory for me.

Saturday, Aug. 9, was the mud run; Sunday, Aug. 10, was a kayaking trip that I won’t soon forget.

Here is what I learned, loved, and why I will be back without a shadow of a doubt:

1. I learned that I’m actually quite fit. This was important to me. Even though I’m pretty sure I slowed down my teammates Mick, Rod and Brennan, I still finished. It was a very unique experience, and it was difficult. Finishing the Manitoba Mud Run filled me with pride. It was on the same level as my first push-up, first chin-up, and the first time I ran a mile. All of which are memories I cherish, and as a fitness nut love telling people are things I couldn’t do. I was sick as a kid, and after getting back to health, it took time to be fit. These small wins still make me feel like a champion.

2. The town of Dauphin puts their heart and soul into these events. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for Dauphin Rotary club and fund positive fitness and lifestyle events and venues for the town. The runners, and there was roughly 1,000 of them, are encouraged to raise funds for the charity of choice for that year. This year, runners were encouraged to seek support from friends and family in support of the MS Foundation of Manitoba. I think the organizers of this need to be recognized. Dr. Kevin Steinbach, Clayton Swanton and Steve Sobering are key to this event and need to be applauded for their efforts. They immediately talk about the volunteer support for the community and specifically Nathan Fleck and Kyler Allard of Hound Sports Services who make sure registration goes smooth. The other 20 or 30 people I saw helping every where were the typical volunteers who make everything work at these Dauphin events.

3. The mud run through the area where Country Fest happens was just the start of a realization for me. Manitoba is beautiful. Not just because this is my home and has been for 33 years. The run shows some of the landscape. After the run, one of our teammates (who we just met) took us out shooting. If you know me, you know that there are few things that I love as much as target shooting. Rod took us to a plot of private land and walked us through firearm safety and let us shoot targets. We watched a storm roll in over Riding Mountain National park, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything more impressive. If you have never seen, heard, or smelled (it’s an amazing smell that fresh rain on an open field) you need to experience it. I strongly believe that our bodies are hard-wired to instantly love it.

4. Riding Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. I’ve travelled a lot, and I am ashamed to say never been up to a Manitoba national park. Mick Lautt took us out on Moon Lake in a couple kayaks. Mick runs the Yak Shack and the story there is everything good about health and fitness. They teach paddling to youth, and anyone who wants to learn. Their program works with at-risk teens to give them a skill to master, and yet again, the town of Dauphin comes to the rescue by supporting Mick’s vision. Mick moved to Dauphin because of the beauty just minutes away, and stayed because of the support he gets to follow his dream. As a top national paddling coach, he’s able to create this program and personally grow it. It was an honour to meet Mick. He’s also reason No. 5

5. Mick runs a company called Taiga Consulting, as well as being the director of learning at EarthRhythms (yes, one word). Basically, Mick is an all-around cool outdoor guy who can take a business team, teach them in their workplace environment about leadership and team-building, then take them out into the most beautiful terrain and have them out of their comfort zone learning experientially. Trust me folks, if you want to learn to be calm under pressure, spend some time in nature. If you want to build a workplace full of people who work as a team, bring them out to something like this. Put your team in Mick’s hands, they’ll be better for it, and have some amazing memories.

So that’s my Dauphin, Manitoba. Now I want to go back and do more because I didn’t even scratch the surface. I saw Moon Lake and did the Manitoba Mud Run … that alone blew my mind. We drove past hiking trails that our new friends raved about, we drove past lakes and wildlife. There were plenty more fitness adventures to be had, its unfortunate that we had to come home after days. All of this, just three hours from Winnipeg.

Get on Twitter with me, if you read this, I want you to tell me about your experience in Riding Mountain National Park tag @FitCityJordan and give me the #ExploreMB hashtag. If you haven’t gone, tell me that also, I’ll hook you up with some of these people in the article and you can plan an adventure. I can’t even begin to describe the beauty, or the fun I had. So I’ll leave it at this: Go to Dauphin.

Mud run & more fun in Dauphin

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