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Snowshoers hit the trails for fourth annual race

Alycia Douglass

Published on February 12, 2017

Snowshoers take to the trails at the fourth annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race this Sat. Feb. 11.

©Paul Couture

CORNWALL, Ontario - The Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST) held their fourth annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race this Sat. Feb. 11. While the air was frigid, it didn’t stop outdoor enthusiasts from making the most of a true winter day on the trails.

The race, which is the sixth of seven in the Dion Ontario Snowshoe Running Series, historically brings in a high percentage of out-of-towners, with the series’ farthest race taking place in Cambridge.

Race organizer, Gilles Parisian has been active in the sport for 13 years, and involved in the event’s planning for four. “We start planning in August,” said Parisian. “That’s when we begin choosing dates for the series.”

Fast-forward to the days leading up to the race, and Parisian and his team of volunteers are busy taking care of details like the ever-changing state of the trails, which doesn’t end after the race.

Unsurprisingly, Parisian says that many participants are seasoned trail runners.

Finishing first in the 7.2 km race was Rob Lefebvre of Williamstown, crossing the finish line at 36:56. Lisa Leskien of Cambridge continued her streak in the women’s series standings adding a third win at Summerstown over the 7.2km course 39:26.  

A 3.4 km non-series race was held for the first time, with Bill Swinden of Ottawa finishing first at 24:16 and Lori Mitchell of Cornwall finishing first among women at 24:55.

“The shorter distance was a nice touch,” said Parisian. “It gives people an opportunity to try out the sport and see if they like it.”

Aside from organizing and supporting the event, Parisian was also in charge of live demos, with all proceeds going to FOTST.

The next race in the Dion Ontario Snowshoe Running Series will be held at the Dion Ganaraska Forest Snowshoe Race held near Port Hope on Sun. Feb. 19.