Writers come across a lot of words. Sometimes one hits the mark. I’ve found one that stands tall to best describe an individual.
That individual and snowshoe advocate is Mark Elmore.
The word is: superdedicated.
Decades of Service
After a remarkable run as the Sports Director of the United States Snowshoe Association, and 20 years of national championship events, Mark recently turned those duties over to ever-effervescent Jackie Hering. Jackie not only won the race in the 2022 championship but kept alive the streak of never losing a national snowshoe race (3) she entered. Furthermore, Jackie won the 2022 Cindy Brochman Snowshoe Person of the Year
Mark earned his Brochman Award in 2010. One might argue he could’ve been selected for all 14 years the honor has been presented. But what he did allowed competitors and supporters–through local, national, and world snowshoe events–vie for this humbling but most-important prize in the sport.
Read More: Snowshoe Magazine Interview: Mark Elmore
An Olympic Visionary
Mark’s vision to elevate snowshoe racing as a category for the Winter Olympics lives on, still driving a devotion in the years to come. With courses for Olympic Biathlon competitions already available and for television access, too, it seems natural that snowshoe racing fits. The leg work to accomplish the steps required comes from snowshoe associations like the World Snowshoe Federation (WSSF). Mark will also stay involved with the WSSF. Why? Superdedicated to the core.
“There are no limits to what we can accomplish,” Mark wrote in his final letter to USSSA members. “If you believe it can be done, it can be done.”
As Performance Medicine’s Jeff Kildahl, Ph.D., writes, “Nothing stops you but your mindset.”
Read More: Why Snowshoeing Should Be an Olympic Sport
Everyone may find their personal commitment by flying in Mark’s jet stream of activity. He’s an example of the energy that appears, for example, when a national championship appears on the calendar. From the day we gather to register and practice the course until all is wrapped up post-race, he knows no gear other than fast-forward.
Listening to him at the welcome dinner at the Syracuse nationals years ago, I became absorbed in his call to action and fun for the weekend of snowshoe racing. Racers felt appreciated and so glad to be there. That’s Mark.
Then, listening to him as racers come by for their start and loops at Lakewoods Resort, Cable, Wisconsin, he calls out each competitor’s name while offering small details on that person with the same excitement for those in the pack as for the leaders of the race. Every single racer. He knows your name.
Standing on a platform eight feet off the ground, facing the wind, suffering frigid temperatures, Mark stays on the speakers, calling results for the whole race. Not only the crowd hears it, but so do the competitors, too, particularly in the last lap, where the finish line stretches just ahead. One thinks, “He called my name; better look good.”
You’re already gasping for air those pesky last big climbs suck out of you. It’s hard to seem in control. But competitors leg it in for a sweet crossing of the timer’s mat. Then one can stop, celebrate a medal, or just the finish itself. And Mark will celebrate everyone’s accomplishments right along with them because? Because he is super dedicated right to the end. Ahh, your friend, the finish!
A Special Day
The 2023 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships in scenic McCall, Idaho, raced at Jug Mountain Ranch on February 4, 2023, “where world-class mountain biking trails are transformed” into a snowshoe layout that challenged a field of the best in the sport. Afterward, Jackie Hering presented a special award to Mark Elmore: “For his dedication and service to the sport of snowshoeing while recognizing his work with the United States Snowshoe Association from the year 2000 thru 2021.” Though with fewer hours of involvement, his presence will continue the ultimate vision he has for the sport.
As Dr. Kildahl emphasizes, “Growth has no endpoint.”
It must be how Mark feels now: super dedicated.
Thou little winged archer,
now no more
As heretofore . . . ”
(from Richard Lovelace’s “Sir Thomas Wortley’s Sonnet Answered”)