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Squamish women — want to work out while learning rugby skills?

Women's weekly outdoor fitness, hosted by the Axemen Rugby Club, takes to the field Tuesdays from Oct. 5 to Nov. 23.
Are you looking for an outdoor fitness session outdoors throughout the fall? 

Women's weekly outdoor fitness, hosted by the Axemen Rugby Club, is happening Tuesdays from Oct. 5 to Nov. 23. 

Never tried or not sure you are into rugby? Not to worry. 

This is not a rugby team playing games. 

Instead, they are free, no contact, fitness sessions for only an hour from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Quest University turf field. 

"We are going to pass a ball around and learn the fundamentals of passing... kicking... and we are going to be putting those skills into a fitness session," said coach Emily Van Duin. 

"There is still going to be a lot of running, a lot of exercises, the heart rate is going to be up, but with a rugby ball." 

No experience is required and everyone is welcome.  All you need are runners, though cleats fit for turf can be helpful.

"Our goal is to get outside, meet new people and have fun while getting fit," said Van Duin. 

"It is no pressure. You don't have to make a big commitment. You don't have to be there every Tuesday. We just want people experiencing rugby," she said. "If they come once and they love it — great, come every week. If they come once and they are like, 'I don't think this is for me.' Great. They tried it." 

Ultimately, the hope is that a women's Axemen team will form to play in Rugby Sevens in the summer.

While some folks find rugby intimidating, with the proper form and techniques, there's nothing to fear, said Van Duin.

Now 35, Van Duin came to rugby younger than many. 

In Merritt, where she grew up, the sport was big for men and women. 

She started in Grade 7. 

"Our team, when I was in high school — Grade 10 or 11 year — actually got second in provincials," she recalled. 

She continued playing from there. 

"It has every aspect of sport," she added when asked what she loves about rugby.

"You have running; you have passing; you have kicking; you have offence and defence; the ball is in the air, the ball is on the ground. It is not a one-dynamic sport...There are so many different aspects of the sport that one person could be good at, but you need the whole team — not everyone is a kicker, and not everyone is a fast runner. It is like the dynamic that you get on a rugby field and team is really unique."

She also noted that rugby is different for its social aspect. 

"The off-field stuff is also really exciting. Some of my best friends, I met through rugby." 

Unlike most other sports, after a rugby match, both teams meet up for beers and to socialize. 

"The home team hosts the people for food and you can congratulate them on a good game," she said. "It is the camaraderie that is awesome." 

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