The 2020 United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) National Championships, sponsored by Dion Snowshoes, was a smashing success! Between February 29 and March 1, 2020, 199 racers from across 15 age groups participated in the events of the 20th annual U.S. Snowshoe Championships.
The 2020 races were held at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, CO. The groomed and prepared trails were ready for the 5K citizen and sanctioned races, 10K sanction races, and the team races. It was a difficult course and the highest elevation races (approximately 10,000 feet) to date for the championships! This high altitude can heavily affect run times, though you wouldn’t know it based on the race finishes.
If you have never been to a snowshoe race, I would highly recommend it! Even if you don’t compete, you can cheer on the incredible racers competing in the event and meet new friendly faces.
Or, if you want to dip your toes in the racing scene, the citizens 5K is an excellent starting point. A few team members of Snowshoe Magazine had a chance to run the citizen 5K, and it was a blast! Even for those casual runners, this race offers a great opportunity for non-competitive people to enjoy walking/running around a breathtaking championship course.
2020 U.S. Snowshoe Championship Race Results
Now, on to the formal race results.
Colorado Springs’ Joseph Gray, a regular to the podium in the men’s division, crushed this intensive course with a 10K time of 41:18.5! He was closely followed by Alex Willis (41:55.8) and Josiah Middaugh (42:26.1). Then, rounding out the 2020 Men’s Senior Snowshoe Team was Josh Eberly (42:41.6) and Samuel Beal (43:43.5)
In the women’s division, Michelle Hummel of Albuquerque, NM, led with a 10K time of 49:21.1. She was followed by Amber Zimmerman (51:30.2) and Whitney Spivey (57:30.7). Caitlin Jones (58:51.4) and Stacey Hendry (1:00:38.6) completed the 2020 Women’s Senior Snowshoe Team.
In addition to U.S participants, the championships races included 3 international participants. Julien Pinsonneault from Quebec, Canada, clocked in at 51:52.0, followed by Abraham Kosgei from Kenya at 1:00.21, and JP Lande from Norway at 1:02.04.
Complete results, including results by age group, can be found at the USSSA official snowshoe racing website. Additionally, for a full recap, see the video below created by the American Trail Running Association:
In addition to the exceptional race results at this altitude, the 2020 championships were special for several reasons.
First Kenyan: Abraham Kosgei
2020 marked the first year a Kenyan national competed in the USSSA National Snowshoe Championships. In addition to his 2nd place in the international division, Abraham finished 41st overall with his 1:00:21.6 race time.
Abraham is a runner with a long history of successful competition. He competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics and has been running and teaching young athletes in Santa Fe, NM, for several years.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, Abraham had back issues that limited his ability to run. His doctor told him he would never be able to run again. However, looking at his running history and his results in the 10k snowshoe race in Leadville, I’d say he has proven that doctor wrong.
No matter if he finishes 1st or last, Abraham has a great positive attitude and shares his joy with the people around him. In a highly competitive sport where race times seem to be “everything,” it’s refreshing to see a highly competitive runner enjoying his race in the beautiful winter forest.
Mark Elmore Retirement
With a heavy heart, Mark Elmore, a founding member of USSSA, announced his retirement at the 2020 U.S Snowshoe Championship event. For 20 years, Mark has worked tirelessly on and off the field (even writing a history book of snowshoe racing) to support the sport of snowshoe racing both nationally and internationally.
Not only has he seamlessly managed races across the country, but he has been an encouraging spectator, supportive friend, and all-encompassing partner. His positive, helpful attitude is sure to brighten anyone’s day. In 2010, he was named the Snowshoe Mag Person of the Year for his immense dedication and support. Truly, the sport of snowshoe racing would not be where it is today without Mark Elmore.
In fact, over the years, Snowshoe Magazine has featured and sought Mark’s support in over 75 articles, and we are so thankful for him! I’m sure I speak for everyone in the snowshoeing community, saying I’m sad to see Mark go. I wish him well in his future endeavors!
As of October 17, 2020, USSSA postponed the 2021 USSSA National Championships due to COVID-19. According to the recent press release, “The USSSA does not wish to place any additional burdens upon its members, event partners, and sponsors at this time. This postponement is merely a hiatus. The USSSA certainly expects the National Snowshoe Championship to return during the 2021-2022 season.”
Expect the 2022 Championships to take place in Eau Claire, WI. Stay tuned for the date announcement soon. Full details and updates are posted on USSSA at snowshoeracing.com.
Please share your experiences of the 2020 US National Snowshoe Championships and the results in the comments below.