It's that time of year; the time that most runners hang up their shoes and find another way to keep fit during the winter. I'm fortunate enough to live in a place where winter sports are everywhere and although my skiing prowess leaves a lot to be desired, I seem to be able to get myself around on snowshoes adequately. There is a difference however between adequately and competently so it was no surprise that Saturday morning found me lining up for the mostly downhill 5 km race rather than the 'start at the bottom of the hill, run to the top, turn round and run back down again' 10 km race! I say mostly downhill as the first couple of kms are undulating and quite the warm-up, so much so that any extra layers worn whilst stood around at the top of the hill, (thankfully the 5 km race ticket includes a lift pass to get to the top!) have long since been discarded with gloves, hat and 'Buff' stuffed into any available pocket.
The White Rabbit Snowshoe Race is an annual event and this was it's 9th year and my third. It's a small and very friendly event with a campfire, hot chocolate and cookies at the finish line, along with the friends and families of runners to cheer you on as you 'sprint' the last 100 metres to the finish line. I say the last 100 metres as that was about the limit of visibility due to the thick fog/clouds at the lower level of the Crystal Mountain Resort. In typical ski resort style though, the weather at the top was stunning with blue skies and sunshine above and the surrounding area below popping up through the thick cloud layer. However grey the sky looks from below, it's only ever a case of how high to climb to get above it. (Mountain fiends and arial sorts people will resonate here!)
Just missing a podium by one place, (I'll catch you next year…) didn't mater in the slightest as prizes are all picked blindly from a bag of race bib numbers. As usual the prizes supplied by sponsors excelled themselves with anything from new snowshoes to poles, thermal wear and other such goodies. This year my wife's number was picked early so she bagged a new snowshoe bag for me - it seemed only fair as last year I'd won one for her!
I 'suppose' now would be a good time to let my wife Helen have her share of the limelight; after numerous 10 km road races, half marathons and even the Chicago full marathon, she secured her first ever podium with an outstanding third place finish in the women's race! Well done honey, what great race. Ok, you can climb down from the step now ;-)