Women Set to Rock the Rock and Ice Ultra

From March 21-26, 2009 the third BHP Billiton Rock and Ice Ultra will take place in Yellowknife, NWT. The race consists of a self-supported race called the Diamond Ultra which covers 225 km over 6-days, a partially-supported race called the K-Rock Ultra which covers 135 km over 3-days, and the 44.5 km Cold Foot Classic which can be completed solo or as a relay in a single day. All racers have the option of travelling by foot/snowshoe, or by ski.

This is the first year that the title sponsor, BHP Billiton, is putting up diamond prizes for the women’s categories (snowshoe/foot and XC ski) of the K-Rock (3-day) and Diamond (6-day) events. This has served to attract a very strong field of women competitors.

The Diamond category boasts a small but impressive field of women, with well-known Canadian adventure and ultra runners Denise McHale and Jen Segger in the foot category and Liza Pye in the ski. It will be very interesting to see these women battle it out – against each other, the men, the course, the conditions, and themselves.

As well, over half of the 29 K-Rock racers are women, including a very strong masters field, and the Cold Foot Classic solo and relay also have women making up about half the field.

Derrick and I are racing in the Diamond and K-Rock races, respectively, and will be reporting much more in the weeks to come, so be sure to check back.

For more on the Rock and Ice Ultra go to www.rockandiceultra.com.

About the author

Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (http://www.healthandadventure.com), which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.

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