Yeah, we understand if you’re getting sick of hearing about anything snow related by now. Maybe that’s why we took so long to put up anything on the NH & NE Snowshoe Championships that were held back on March 7th in Moultonborough, NH at the Castle in the Clouds.
Jim Johnson took the title, in what may have been surprising news to anybody who watched Kevin Tilton seemingly sprint up the Mt Washington Auto Road on snowshoes (and set a new course record) the weekend prior. JJ ran a 45:15 to Kevin’s 45:59. From Jim’s blog:
I continued to press on and the climb didn’t seem that bad. I kept thinking it would get worse but it really never did. There were occasional steep parts but then they’d morph into a flat or slight downhill and I was able to recover and stretch out. Kevin kept catching me on the steep climbs and would go from appearing like he was dropping back, to getting right up almost within talking distance at times. I occasionally looked back on the turns to try to assess the damage behind. I could see Chris Mahoney early on, in third…but by a mile or so, it looked like Kevin was going to be the only one I was going to really worry about unless something happened with my calf or hamstring. Kevin’s bright orange top assured me that I would always be able to quickly determine where he was with barely a glance. There was one or two moments where I was sure he’d be rolling up on me and I was prepared to move the hell out of the way when that happened. I could hear him clearing his throat, which is usually the kiss of death for me on a climb. That tells me he’s now close enough to strike. I just kept pushing and the goal became to try to beat him to the top or at least, if he passed me, to stay within striking distance for the descent.
The trail was narrow and dicey in spots, but fairly runnable just about the entire way. There were a couple of tricky turns here and there but for the most part, it wasn’t anything that was impacting my progress. I think the race, conditions-wise, was timed perfectly. Another week and it would have been a true nightmare on the trails. As I came up to the 3 mile mark (on my watch) I saw Dave Dunham out on the trail at what appeared to be the top of the course. I had heard just before the race that it was almost 4 miles or so of climb, so I thought there was still more to go. When I went by DD I had only 10 seconds on Kevin. Dave had told Kevin as he passed about the time gap. That was still way too close for comfort. Only one stumble and he’s got me. I started to work the downhill a bit and as more and more time went by, I started to think that this was all the climb. I got my second wind and opened it up a little bit more on the way down.
You can read the rest here. JJ basically continued to pull away on the descent and added yet another snowshoe W to his impressive resumé.
Ethan Nedeau was a couple of minutes behind in 48:51, and the third overall finish was a strong showing by the top masters runner in the race. Next in was Chris Mahoney, who we have to call out here for finally updating his blog. Here’s an excerpt from it:
The course goes up hill for a few miles and I held my 3rd place spot for about 2.5 miles of it. But there was someone who had caught up to me and was right on me. After a few minutes of this I let the person by as I felt I was holding them back. Soon I realized it was Ethan Nadeau that I had let pass. He is 42 years young and a total bad ass, ass-kicking master. I took a quick peek back at this point and promptly fell on my face, got up and fell again. I also noticed a couple guys still not to far back. After collecting myself I was on my way again and soon on the down hill portion of the course. I could still see Ethan not too far ahead and kept trying to convince myself to get after him, all the while still worrying about the talented snowshoers trying to chase me down. I pressed the downhills the best I could but never made any ground on Ethan. We soon passed the finish area and were on our way for the final loop, another uphill and downhill portion. At this point I was hurting and just thinking I should concentrate on keeping my position.
And that’s what he did, running 50:03 for 4th overall. Over on the All Terrain Runner Series website there was an interview published with women’s champ Kasie Enman:
Amber was crushing the uphills, evidence of how fit she is right now. The turning point of the race for me though was directly tied into the terrain. As soon as we hit the first downhill I started eating up ground. I think this just came down to comfort level. My experience this past year racing down crazy mountain scree fields helped me out. For the first time, I started thinking maybe we had a race on our hands.
I also started thinking that I was an idiot for not doing a better job studying the course map. When we came by the finish line for the first time, I was right behind Amber. I actually thought for a second that it might be time to sprint it in right then, but luckily picked up on the fact that there was another loop. We started climbing again and Amber started pulling away again, but this time I knew I could close the gap on the final downhill. I caught back up and decided if I was going to make a move, it had better be during the downhill. I tried not to be a jerk by asking Amber to move out of the track after she had led the entire race, so there was a sloppy moment as I slipped and post-holed my way by in a less than graceful pass. I think we both laughed.
In what was a battle of former national snowshoe champions, Kasie, who is also a former world mountain running champion, edged Amber Ferreira by the slim margin of 56:42 to 56:53. Kasie really used the downhills to her advantage, and all the time spent “racing down crazy mountain scree fields” over the past year really helped her out.
Sarah Schlaack of acidoticRacing was the top women’s masters runner in 69:24. Sarah was the 9th runner on the deep aR team that finished 2nd (mixed scoring).
This race marked the end of the 2015 Granite State Snowshoe Series, which was won by Jim Johnson and Leslie O’Dell. Both put up perfect marks of 400 points in easily winning their divisions.
Besides the titles here, Johnson also picked up 100 points in the All Terrain Runner Series as this was the second event on that slate for the USATF-NE series in its second year. JJ missed the initial event (the indoor mile at the GBTC Invitational), so it remains to be seen if he’ll put those points to good use in the rest of the series. Kasie Enman, on the other hand, did compete in the indoor mile and is going after the ATR title hard. But Kasie recently learned that Amber Ferreira might be gunning for it as well, and if there ever were two competitors who exemplified the ATR challenge it’s them. We’ll need another event or two to really shake things out in those standings, but the competition is definitely heating up…just as the snow is melting.
For more on the race, check out: