While snowshoe races generally award aerobic fitness, hill climbing, and quick descending, the course at this year's United States Snowshoeing Association National Championship mixed things up with a flat romp around a field at Summit High School.
The championship event drew strong fields for men, women, and juniors, and many racers from outside Colorado participated. The juniors, aged 20 and under, kicked things off with a 5k, and I was proud to watch stellar finishes from EHS runners Sam Sahli and Jackson Sayler, who both did the Cougars proud! Mitch Kasyon, a freshman at CU-Boulder, won the junior race in convincing fashion. The USSSA deserves recognition for attracting so many young athletes to the great sport of snowshoeing, and it was great to see them in action!
In the women's race, Sara Tarkington crushed the course for a wire-to-wire win. Josiah Middaugh (surprise) won the men's race, with my CU-Boulder teammate Jared Scott kicking in strong for second. I ran in fifth for almost the entire race, hoping for some significant climbing, descending, and singletrack that I knew would never come. There was one rise on the course, "Heartbreak Hill," which turned out to be aptly named for me when I realized it presented less vertical gain than my driveway at home.
All in all, I was happy to make the final spot on the National Snowshoeing Team with a top-five finish. Evergreen resident and occasional training partner Brandy Erholtz finished fourth in the women's race, and Lindsay Krause was sixth.
Hats off to the competitors, organizers, and volunteers at the event!