Addendum: USSSA 2009 National Championship

Jim McDonell gave this stirring account of that momentous race finish. Snowshoe racing is indeed exciting!(see group photo including women’s winner Brandy Erholtz.
Midwest snowshoers at Zig Zag Inn night before race: BACK: Mike Most (WI), Kelly Mortenson (MN), John Kann (MN) FRONT: Brandy Ereholtz (CO but originally MN), Mary Ross Mortenson, (MN), Jim McDonell (MN), Pete Peter (MN), Jim Graupner (MN)

“Regarding my close finish with Judd Johnston and Bob Dion…..My strategy was to stay behind John Kann until the end and then try to pass (otherwise I start fast and he passes me at end).  I did stay behind from the start but unfortunately was never able to catch him….he did not know I was behind him until the end and thought I was in front of him as usual!

I was in 2nd by quite a bit ahead of Judd and Bob at the half way point…..although I did not know that until the end when judd told me ( I did not look back).  About a mile from the end of the race I heard Judd’s voice behind me say “how far up is John Kann?”.  That suprised me as I did not even know he was close.  I took off like a bat out of hell and so did he…keeping right on my heels until the last 25 feet.  My legs were dead but he managed a spring past me while politely saying “sorry, Jim, but I have to pass you”.  Bob Dion sprinted by at the same time, and I did not even know he was behind Judd until that moment.  Judd and I collapsed together (crossing the finish line) and hugged each other.

Judd told me later that it was my fault that he beat me….he was tired of seeing my butt for the last few years!  Judd had a phenomenal race and really kicked into gear the 2nd loop. Next year Bob Dion is in my age group again.  Bob beat me in 2007 in Minneapolis Nationals after a battle.  Next year should be fun again!

The snow collapsed tent (see photo) was an unfortunate highlight but fortunately they had a weather window on race day so that they could have awards and drawings in the open parking lot.

The canyon uphill start (see women’s start) was tough…and doing it twice made it even
tougher.  One guy right in front of me threw up on the first loop as he reached the top of the climb.

I did the relay with John Kann and Pete Peter…Unfortunately we finished 4th of 5 mens teams so we missed the bronze medal….but we had fun…I had more fun than the
nationals itself…even though my legs felt like they had turned to wood on the third climb up the canyon…John said the same thing.”


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Photos courtesy Jim McDonell

About the author


Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition including drag racing, his favorite motor sport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING:Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING:Keys" in a unique way. Currently he has two books in the works.
Twitter: @iHarmonizing