SUMMERSTOWN, Ontario – Gilles Parisien, Race Director of the Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race, was pleased to see 42 hopefuls at the seventh annual competition on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Temperatures hovered around -16 Celsius at the beginning of the races, and many runners switched to take part in the 4.4 km race versus the 7.5 km. Running conditions also provided a challenge to participants as the trails were soft from the 20-something cm of fresh snow that had fallen over the 36 hours prior. Runners were required to expend more energy as conditions were akin to running in sand.
This year saw two participants from the U.S. who were en-route to Ottawa’s Winterlude, one of Beaumont, T.X.
In the women’s 7.5 km race, Lisa Leskien from Cambridge reclaimed the title she had lost last year. Cornwall’s Caroline Samson-Bélair finished in third place. In the women’s 4.4 km race, Ottawa’s Heather Lewis finished first, with Melissa McGrath of Monkland placing second.
“It’s so beautiful back there, it was worth the pain,” said McGrath.
With the absence of local favourite Rob Lefebvre, who had won the previous three races, Corey Turnbull of Smith Falls took the men’s 7.5 km race title. According to a press release, Turnbull is a regular at the race and has claimed second place in recent years.
“I love the rolling terrain, the wooded first section and then through the conifers. There’s a magic at Summerstown Forest that I don’t find in other forests,” said Turnbull.
Turnbull also brought two 15-year-old runners of the club he coaches in Smith Falls with him, who respectivly placed first and second in the men’s 4.4 km race, well ahead of other competitors.
The complete race results are available on the Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Running Series website.