Who is this snow runner, shirtless in shorts at -10°C?

Who is this snow runner, shirtless in shorts at -10°C?

Guy Giard, the “coureur des neiges” at the Old Port of Montreal

Guy Giard, a 63-year-old Montrealer, runs shirtless summer and winter, even if he says he is shy. A red nose always in his pocket, to greet passers-by, the humanitarian clown looking like a vacationer from the south who seems lost in the snow, loves the direct contact of the air with his skin. No offense, he won't change his look!

In winter, Guy Giard, nicknamed Monsieur Bonheur by some, rises with the sun. He drinks his half-cup of coffee and checks the weather forecast. Reasonable, soft-spoken charismatic prefers joggingwhen the temperature stays above -15 degrees Celsius, when the wind is light and the sun is shining. The weather is ideal so they put on their shorts, their t-shirt, their fluorescent orange water shoes with studs, their banana and their whistle in case of a fall. Monsieur Bonheur is reckless, but cautious!

The vacationer of the South-West all year round

It all started in the summer of his 60th birthday when Monsieur Bonheur took to running, driven by “quarantine frustration” during the pandemic. Invaded by the summer heat wave, he got so hot that he overcame his shyness and took off his t-shirt. He never put it back again! Indian summer has arrived, followed by the trees adorned with snowflakes, he remained dressed as a vacationer in the south. A knee injury forced him to stop running for a few months.

Restored, the bachelor of arts from Concordia and holder of a certificate in humor and laughter yoga began to listen to his body. Attentive to his tolerance for discomfort, he likes to surpass himself, but gradually to avoid injury. “As long as it's pink, it's okay”, says the snow runner who as soon as he feels unpleasant sensations, “pinches or tingles”, he interrupts his winter run and returns home.


“Sprinting in the cold without warming up increases the risk of muscle strain, but running 12 km at a leisurely pace in the cold is fun. I don't think that's a problem, ”reassures Myriam Paquette, exercise physiologist at the Institut national du sport du Québec (INS). Amused, the sports specialist slips that it “is easier to maintain the temperature of your naked body, when you have a good layer of fat”.

Who is this snowrunner, torso naked in shorts at -10°C?

Photo credit: Guy Giard

Who is this snow runner, shirtless in shorts at -10°C?

Photo credit: Lucie Ferré

Who is this snow runner, shirtless in shorts at -10°C?

Photo credit: Guy Giard

Once outside, the 60-something athlete takes off her top and ties it around her waist. Then, shirtless, he walks along the Saint-Laurent canal in the Saint-Henri district and listens to the chirping of birds all the way to the Quai de l'Horloge in the Old Port. Round trip, his morning run lasts 12 km.

This humanitarian clown, who accompanied Dr. Patch Adams to hospitals to make sick people laugh in Latin America, Russia and India admits that for two pleasant reactions from strangers, one is less sympathetic. Some grumps prefer to turn their heads and ignore it. It must not be easy!

So what about summer?

In summer, Guy Giard runs dressed almost like in winter, but barefoot! Thus, to feel the texture of the gravel, of the branches mixed with the snow that he treads on with his heel, Monsieur Bonheur protects his feet with water shoes with spikes that he paid $30 with waterproof socks.

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