LAST CHANCE! 2019 Snowshoe Qualifiers for 2020 DION USSSA National Championships

Aren’t you chomping on the bit to qualify for the 2020 National Snowshoe Championships?

The 2020 national event will be held February 28-March 1 in the famous town of Leadville, Colorado, which is the home of the epic Leadville Trail 100. It will be here before you can say, “Go!”

snowshoe race: 2018 Mendota 5K

Finishing the inaugural 2018 Mendota 5K Run/Snowshoe Race

Last Qualifying Races in 2019

Minnesota hosts the only two qualifiers left in 2019 for the 2020 DION Snowshoes United States Snowshoe Association  Championships. Check out these two 2019 races to get you ready to rock for nationals.

In 2020, there are many other qualifiers—28 with all their data logged in at the USSSA site. Races are held from West Virginia to Alaska, from Saranac, New York, to Phillips, Wisconsin, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Sandpoint, Idaho. There are plenty of choices after the new year.

Recap of Ritter Farm Qualifying For National Snowshoe Championships 

But, go ahead, get in the groove, and qualify early. Join the 200+ trail runners who ran for qualifying on Saturday, November 16, at the inaugural Ritter Farm Trail Runs.

Ritter Farm Race 2019: Snowshoe Racing

Crossing the bridge near the archery range on the Ritter Farm Race Trails (Yes, there were no arrows this day.) Photo courtesy of Jeff Larson

There, Mason Sullivan, a 14-year-old star, zipped the hilly five miles in 33.14. Plus, Roxanne Ready gave Master runners something to crow about, winning the overall women’s class. The race is a looped course, and some chose to run two or three laps.

Two women took the top two overall slots in the two-loop race: Maggie Marx at 1:15 and Katie Zirbes in 1:32. Masters racer Craig Hagensick took first in the male category.

There’s no other way to put this, so here it is: Dan Laplante scorched the three loops event with 6:48 miles. Kerrie Rubadue won the women’s class by four minutes. So much fun had by all!

Ritter Farm 2019

Staying Warm! Ritter Trail Races 2019. Photo courtesy of Jeff Larson

Last Two Races: Mendota Trail Run and Snowshoe 5K 

On Sunday, December 8, 2019, the Mendota Trail Run and Snowshoe 5K in St. Paul, MN, will serve as qualifiers for the US National Snowshoe Championships.

Mendota 5K 2018: Snowshoe Racing

The Man in Green streaks to a 2018 Mendota 5K finish

Many runners in the event will add a second qualifying race to their list, with some racing their first. However, either the trail run or snowshoe 5k qualifies you for the national championship events, and maybe the opportunity to earn it the old-fashioned way by wearing snowshoes.

In the 2018 race, a nice snow remained on the trails so one could race with snowshoes or running shoes. Either snowshoes or running shoes qualify you for the nationals if you finish the course, and each style has separate awards. Registration is $30 until Dec 7th and $35 on race day.

The Mendota Trail Run and Snowshoe 5K, now in its second year, are a Mountain Goat Running event. Both Mendota races provide funds to help maintain the Ft. Snelling State Park trails. How timely, too, as the park received devastating floods from last season’s heavy snows and rain. Race Director Sam Rush carries years of experience, so the race itself goes smoothly.

Mendota 5k 2018: Snowshoe Racing

Happy Finishers at Mendota 5k 2018

Additionally, plenty of parking on Picnic Island lowers the hassle factor. The race headquarters “A” Lodge boasts a big, hearty fire, generating warmth along with warm-hearted athletes as preparations stir before the start. A fast course, mostly flat, encourages quick times for competitors. Maybe set your PR here.

The after-race festivities continue at Lucky’s 13 Pub that serves a grand breakfast with a drink voucher, too.

Mendota Trail Race Beanie

As RD Sam Rush calls it, “A sweet beanie!” and it’s warm, too, with an inner liner.

After finishing, take your swag (including this sweet beanie) and wear it proudly at Lucky’s. Plus, you can wear it at all three days at the DION USSSA National Snowshoe Championships on February 28-March 1, 2020, in Leadville, Colorado.

Don’t miss this chance to race a national qualifier before Christmas and close out the calendar year in style.

(Ritter Farm Race Photos courtesy Jeff Larkin)


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 motorsport. 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.
Write to him at, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.

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