Very Warm Temperatures for Snowshoe Races

Friends of the Summerstown Trails
Very Warm Temperatures for Snowshoe Races
Open winner Rachel Thiessen (left) and master winner Susan Durrell (extreme right) at the Summerstown Forest Snoshoe Race

Summerstown, ON – With temperatures around +9 degrees, the 10th annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race took place last Saturday and there was a large turnout in spite of the gloomy weather and threat of rain over the past several days.

The first big story was that there even was a race…on snowshoes! A thin layer of ice covered the course laid out by race organizer and Friends of the Summertown Trails member, Gilles Parisien. The warm temperature softened the ice and with the snowshoe crampons digging in, it made for very fast conditions. Repeat winner Bernie Hogan, a member of the Algonquin First Nation, covered the 7.7 km Dion points race distance in 31 minutes, easily beating his record-winning time of 34 minutes set last year.

The second big story was that a number of runners did not follow the course, and in fact ran a longer race of approximately 9 km. There was a lot of kidding around after the race, with one of the participants telling of being passed twice by another runner on a course that is in the shape of a loop. The course was well marked, but many runners, especially those who are not regular snowshoe runners, don’t “trust their snowshoes” and run with their head down, missing the course markers.

For the first time, the women outnumbered the men making up 60% of the 49 participants, and there were more local and area runners than in past years which was a great satisfaction to Parisien who has been promoting the sport of snowshoe running for the past 10 years. Ottawa resident Rachel Thiessen finished first, posting an excellent time of 40 minutes. Watching the race last year convinced Brandi Benedict of Akwesasne to train for it and reached her goal as she participated in the shorter 4.4 km Summerstown Challenge race.

The complete race results are available on the Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series website.

Family Day at the Summerstown Trails

With the weather forecast changing daily and impacting the trail conditions, the Friends are hoping to host this event again this year. On that day, the rental of equipment is free, and so are the hot dogs, marshmallows and hot chocolate. Check out the Friends Facebook page or their website at

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