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Beat the heat

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Iglulik (July 19/04) - Manasie Qaunaq has completely changed his lifestyle.

The 21-year-old is eating healthier, he's cutting down on cigarettes and he is now running five kilometres a day.

"I am sticking with more traditional foods and I've cut out too much caffeine and sugar. I am mostly sticking to water," he said.

About three weeks ago Qaunaq, who works at the Northern Store in Iglulik, received a telephone call from the North West Company.

He was selected as one of the members of the company's annual team diabetes.

The team has raised over $1.2 million over the years for diabetes research.

This year, that team will head to the Hawaii Marathon in Honolulu.

"I got lucky," Qaunaq said of being selected.

He submitted his application to be part of the team late and all the members had already been selected.

However, when Malaiya Oshoweetok from Cape Dorset was disqualified for changing jobs, Qaunaq was in.

"For people up North, it's something close to a once in a lifetime thing. I was quite speechless when I was told I was going," he said.

Qaunaq has until December to work his way up to the 42km marathon distance.

He doesn't think that will be a problem.

"I find it to be a little far, but I think by December it won't be much of a problem," said Qaunaq.

"My manager did it last year and he wasn't in much better shape than I am in now."

Qaunaq does most of his training outside when the weather is not rainy or snowy. On days he is confined indoors, he uses a treadmill that was sent up last year to help his manager train.

Weather woes

Weather will be the biggest challenge Qaunaq will have to face in this adventure.

The average high temperature in Iglulik in the summer is only 10C. In the winter, it drops to a frigid -35C. In Hawaii, however, the high average temperature in the winter is 27C.

Heat is a challenge for most runners, and will be even more so for Qaunaq, who is used to extremely cold temperatures all year round.

"That has been in my mind the whole time. I'm sort of afraid of it, but I can face it," he said.

"I am more of a cold climate person than a hot climate person."

Qaunaq said he is hoping "not to screw" this opportunity up and he is extremely excited. The chance to go to Hawaii and experience this opportunity is something he wouldn't miss for the world.

"When I run and I start to get tired, that is what motivates me to go a little farther," he said.