More than 200 racers gathered at McCoy Park, under gray skies and blustery conditions for the Jeremy Wright Memorial Snowshoe Race, the third and final event in the Beaver Creek Mountain Running Series Snowshoe Edition. Jeremy Wright, a former Vail Valley resident and regular on the local snowshoe racing scene, passed away in Afghanistan in 2005.
McCoy Park is located at the top of the Strawberry Park Express Lift, providing panoramic but high altitude routes for snowshoeing. The 5k race is actually 3.5 miles, with 692 feet of climbing and descending and an average course grade of 7 percent. It climbs until just past mile 1.7 then has a downhill race to the finish. The 10k has two substantial climbs and descents and boasts a 9 percent grade with 1,560 feet of climbing and descending.
Racers ranged from seasoned veterans to first-timers, and many took advantage of the Atlas demo booth to test the latest in snowshoe technology.
Gully, a second-time snowshoe racer from Brooklyn, N.Y., now incorporates a snowshoe event into his annual guy’s ski trip, and said, “I’m fairly certain the course was uphill both ways, but I was inspired by all the people participating, the fresh air and feeling like you were in the middle of no where.”
The course wound through aspen and pine forests with amazing views of the Vail Valley and beyond as racers ran along groomed skate tracks and tried to maintain pace through several deep, singletrack sections.
With a winning time of 53:58, Josiah Middaugh ran to his third 10k win in the series and overall points winner as well. “It was a good course with more single track sections than other years,” said Middaugh, who heads to Bend, Oregon, for the 2013 Dion Snowshoes United States National Snowshoe Championships on March 16.
Dan Nielsen posted a time for 1:02:10 for second place and Mike Green finished a close third in 1:02:49.
Jennifer Razee won the women’s 10k division in 1:09:21. Jeanne Cooper crossed the line in 1:12:28 for second and Karen Smith’s time of 1:16:48 earned her the third spot on the podium.
“A series gives you something to fight for and a reason to stay focused over the course of the season,” said Brandt, who also thinks it encourages more people to come out and participate.
Sarah Giovagnoli was the women’s winner of the 5k, crossing the line in 33:56. Tim Hola’s 30:33 made him the top male.
The 2013 Beaver Creek Mountain Running Series Snowshoe Edition was presented by the Beaver Creek Resort Company, Atlas Snow-Shoe Company, Nature Valley, East West Resorts, the Dusty Boot, the Metropolitan, Dermatone and Snowshoe Magazine.
Editor’s Note – Allison would like to boast about the fact that her daughter, Adair, came in third in the female 19 & under division, with a time of 45:05.