CORNWALL, Ontario - In spite of the inclement weather forecast, the rain held off long enough for the 2nd annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race to be held this past Saturday under cloudy but rainless skies. With race time temperature hovering around +1 degree, the runners did not have to worry about the being cold, and in fact one even mentioned that he had run out of clothes to shed during the race.
The weather did have another impact as only 49 of the record number 69 registered participants showed up for the race, with most of the no-shows being from the Ottawa region where the freezing rain made driving conditions hazardous. The 49 participants easily surpassed the 34 who took part in last yearâs inaugural race.
The race was organized by the Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST), and race organizer Gilles Parisien was specially pleased with the increase of participants from outside our immediate area. âWord that Summerstown Forest is an ideal race site is quickly getting around. The runners really appreciate the fact that our course is very technical, but fast at the same timeâ. This yearâs race even had an international flavour as one runner hailed from Massena, New York.
The 7.55km menâs race was won by Dave McMahon of Chelsea, Quebec, a former member of Canadaâs national snowshoe team. Due to the mild temperature, his winning time of 38:15 was slower than last yearâs best time, but enough to outrun local favourite, Rob Lefebvre (39:26). Rob, who lives just down the road from Summerstown Forest, improved from his 3rd place finish of a year ago.
Well known runner Emma Saltink, a member of the Cornwall Multisport Club, dominated the womenâs race with a time of 43:41. Saltink, who donned snowshoes for the first time in her life two weeks ago, finished four minutes ahead of Lise Meloche, of Chelsea, Quebec. Meloche is a two-time Olympian, having represented Canada in the sport of biathlon at the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Winter Games.
At the conclusion of the race, medals and prizes provided by local sponsors were handed out to the first three finishers, and as is traditional, the rest of the prizes were drawn for by all the participants in the spirit of camaraderie which prevails in this sport.