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Hardcore Charleston runners unfazed by cold

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Billy Wolfe Brad Kohler, Marshall Spradling and Brandon Merritt embark on a run Thursday, despite the frigid temperatures and icy, snow-covered sidewalks and roads.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Billy Wolfe
Brad Kohler, Marshall Spradling and Brandon Merritt embark on a run Thursday, despite the frigid temperatures and icy, snow-covered sidewalks and roads.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It was warmer in Barrow, Alaska, than in West Virginia’s capital city Thursday as Marshall Spradling set off on his daily run from Robert’s Running and Walking Shop on Charleston’s West Side.

Some sidewalks were buried under banks of dirty snow and ice. Cars slogged through streets filled with black slush. It was hardly ideal running weather.

Spradling and his running companions, Brad Kohler and Brandon Merritt, are some of the more hardcore (some might say insane) members of the recently formed Kanawha Running Club. But even they decided to cancel the previously scheduled group run Thursday evening after weather advisories warned of 20-below-zero wind chills.

Instead, they decided to get their exercise in early while the weather was a balmy 6 degrees.

“I prefer cold weather over hot, although this is kind of extreme,” said Spradling, 39, who runs about 50 miles every week and has competed in the Charleston Distance Run for the past 15 years. “When it gets down into the single digits people kind of look at you like you’re crazy.”

He doesn’t like to take a day off. In the hottest summer months, he’ll run in the early morning hours to get around the heat.

“I pretty much run every day. It doesn’t matter what the weather is…

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