Arboretum Hill Club
If you’re in the Arboretum early on a Friday and you happen to hear a spirited “hills yeah!” You’ve found the Arboretum Hill Club.
AHC was created on Friday, July 20, 2018 (6:29am). A few days earlier, Jamie Voltz had sent out a question to a few like-minded individuals in Ottawa-Gatineau: “anyone want to run hills with me at the Dominion Arboretum on Friday at 6:29am?” That question resulted in 10 humans running up and down the Arboretum hill for 31 minutes. That same morning the Arboretum Hill Club was created with a logo, an Instagram account, a hashtag (#HillsYeah) and a mission statement to bring fun free workouts to the community every Friday morning. They haven’t missed a Friday even as they went virtual during the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Almost 3 years later (Happy Birthday AHC), they are still at it with workout 152 ready to go to celebrate!
According to Stephen Bierbrier, “AHC is about SO many things. It’s about free fitness. It’s about nature. It’s about community. It’s about crushing hills. It’s about creating fun sweaty workouts (every workout is different)! It’s about giving a voice to all the amazing humans who join us. It’s about the weather (rain, snow, sleet, darkness, sunshine). It’s about dogs (we love dogs). It’s about support. It’s about consistency. It’s about accountability. It’s about friendships. It’s DEFINITELY about FUN! It’s about smiles too. We cannot guarantee a lot in the world, but we can almost guarantee a smile out of every single person who joins our free workouts.”
When asked how AHC evolves, Bierbrier says, “The foundation of AHC is a place of love, fun, sweat, respect and community (not necessarily in that order). We keep pumping the message out of our loudspeakers that we are for everyone and everybody regardless of age or fitness level. We are inclusive and supportive. We will keep pumping out that message because it’s the truth. We grow with the participants. Their passions become AHC’s passions. Everyone can lead a workout at AHC. Everyone brings their unique skill set to the hill. It makes for an amazing mashup of energy. We have special guests lead workouts too, including some pretty amazing local legend personal training rockstars. We have created events that are unique to AHC like our 6k sunset runs on long weekend Mondays, Hill Hell Week (5 hills, 5 workouts, 5 days in a row, always 6:29am), Arborace (always in November and always FREE). We do summer yoga. We do pop-up trail runs. We do skating workouts. We do toboggan workouts. We do snowshoe workouts. There is no end to the creativity of the participants of AHC.”
Arboretum Hill Club meets Fridays at 6:29 am at the summit of the Dominion Arboretum hill. Check them out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more information. Thanks to Stephen Bierbrier for taking the time to speak with us.