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Northfield Mountain Snowshoe race

Northfield, MA, February 5, 2005

Northfield Mountain Snowshoe Race

by Dave Dunham

MVS Tri fury runner Allen Beebe kicks up snow as he sprints to the finish.
MVS Tri fury runner Allen Beebe kicks up snow as he sprints to the finish.
Northfield Mountain 7.25K Snowshoe race Saturday February 6, 2005

For the third year in a row the Northfield race served as a qualifier for the USSSA National championship and was also part of the WMAC snowshoe series. This year great conditions and a strong field lead to some very fast times.

Paul Low and Kelli Lusk assisted me in marking the course on Friday. We found the trails to be solidly packed as we hiked the course in sunshine and 45 degree temperature. Overnight temperatures in the 20's firmed up the surface that could have been run sans snowshoes.

The turnout was excellent, as the event has grown from 77 finishers in 2003 to 92 this year. Perhaps the warm confines of the Northfield recreation center draw additional runners? Maybe it was the great day that was predicted? Whatever it was, the runners had fast snow and temperatures in the mid to upper 30's at the start and 40's by the finish.

Runners arrived from 9 states (including California!) and ranged from 14 to 75 years old. Thirty two runners were USSSA members attempting to qualify for the championship race to be held in Alaska in March.

Paul Low showed why he was the top sea-level snowshoe racer last year and the top Mountain runner in the US for the last two years as he took the win in a course record time. Low, representing the CMS/Polar team, led eight finishers under the old course record. Richard Bolt, also representing CMS/Polar (and nattily attired in Atlas shoes/gear), stuck close to Low throughout the race. Low hit the mile in just under 6 minutes with a 10 second lead on Bolt which he expanded to 34 seconds by the end of the approximately 4.5 mile race.

Kelli Lusk dominated the race, finishing 18th overall and smashing Nikki Kimball's course record by 3 1/2 minutes. Lusk never looked back as she beat Meghan Young by nearly 6 minutes. Young was followed by Kristel Dunphy a Pioneer Valley runner from Northfield. A record 19 women finished the race.

A few age group records were set, led by Dan Verrington (CMS/Polar) running in Atlas shoes and finishing 5th overall. Verrington took 5 minutes off of his age group record of 37:02 from 2004. Sandra Superchi was the 40-49 women's champion. Carol Kane (WMAC) was the top woman in the 50-59 Age group finishing 7th in the women's field. Kane ran 49:55, just 7 seconds shy of her record from 2004. Ed Myers from Obelisk, PA was the top 50-59 runner in 40:47. He lowered his 2004 age group record by nearly 2 minutes finishing 30th overall. Ed Alibozek Jr. continues to rule the 60-69 age group. He was 30 seconds short of his CR from 2004. Richard Busa continues to chug along, running an excellent 1:00:53. He set a new age group record, knocking over 2 minutes off of his record from 2004.

The team championship was taken by the CMS - West team by one point over the Keene based Endurance team, 22 points to 23. CMS took the top 5 places overall, however they had designated various teams based on geographic location. CMS - North and CMS - East took 3rd and 4th with 34 and 39 points respectively. CMS - West women took the ladies race over the WMAC team and Empire One Racing (EORC) by a score of 143 to 224 and 235. Fourteen teams took part in the open and age group competition.

The race would not have been run without the help of all of the volunteers and the willingness of the Northfield Mountain Recreation area to allow us to use the facilities. If you enjoyed the race, let the people at Northfield know. Thanks to Cathy, Leslie, MJ and Carol for helping set up and do timing and everything else that needed doing! Thanks to Paul and Kelli for helping with course set-up and additional marking on race day. Thanks to all of the CMS crew who assisted with clearing the course after. Thanks to our sponsors, Northfield Mountain, Northeast Utilities, La Sportiva, WMAC.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making the race a success. I hope to see y'all at Northfield for the spring race on June 26th.

Questions/Comments to: dave.dunham@comcast.net

Complete results, including Overall, Age Group, USSSA Qualifiers, and Teams can be found on www.coolrunning.com

Pictures can be found on www.runwmac.com




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