Cold doesn’t stop these hardcore runners from hitting the trails

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CHICAGO -- While the rest of us are working hard to stay out of the cold, there are a handful of diehards who refuse to hang up their running shoes during the winter months.

"The more extreme it is, the more I'm attracted to doing it," says winter runner Jason Patera. "When we had that last cold snap in December, I was out there, super eager to test what the limits are."

Patera says he ran for the last 450 consecutive days. He's one of a select group of extreme winter exercisers that don't let the cold weather slow their stride.

Justin Breen has been running year-round for the last decade as well and loves it.

"Your body get used to it really fast. You don't feel the cold after the first couple minutes," he said.

Down the road, sports medicine specialist Dr. Greg Portland says he admires these runners' drive, but sees more of them than he'd like this time of year. He says the office gets really busy when there's a stretch of days with potential for black ice.

"Unfortunately, people just don't see it, and as we fall our bodies inevitably lose that fight with gravity," Dr. Portland said.

Opening a closet holding many pairs orthopedic boots, he jokingly refers to it as the "Ice Room," saying he expects to make multiple trips inside between November and March.

The running paths have been good to Jason and Justin, who are still cruising along without injury. They admit that windchill can sting and legs can take a little longer to find their groove, but it's exactly those challenges that draw them back.

"Day to day, it's always like: let's do just one more," Breen said.

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