Speedy Snowshoeing Takes Woodford State Park on December 26th!

A leisurely walk in the park is not what participants of the annual Woodford State Park Snowshoe Race anticipate. This fast-paced 3.3-mile race has drawn over seventy-five athletes in years past who compete for respect as well as good Vermont eats, such as a loaf of bread from Vermont Bread, Green Mountain Coffee, bagels from Works Cafe & Bakery, donuts from Mrs. Murphy's Donuts, and locally made bean soup, which they get to dig into after crossing the finish line. Last year, competitors ages ranged from twelve to seventy-plus and all of the athletes finished the race under an hour (the winning time was an amazing twenty-four-minutes!)

Jack Quinn and John Pelton started the snowshoe race in Woodford State Park on December 30, 2001, and they have been having one there each year ever since! Jack continues to be the race director and prepares for the day's event by making sure the course is free from fallen trees or overgrown bushes. This year, Jack's job was surprisingly easy. Woodford State Park volunteers, Hamilton Topping and Lorna Cherlton, put in great energy and enthusiasm to improve the trail. They added planks in low areas, filled in gaps with boulders, and trimmed back vegetation. The trail work has already been much appreciated - even in the off season! Another helping hand, Dave Dunham of Northfield, MA, goes out pre-race and prepares the course for runners by marking the 3.3-mile trail with flags to ensure no gets lost.

With everything cleared and marked, the course just needs the runners. This year the race day is scheduled for Sunday, December 26th at 10:00am. Jack and John will have help from Michael Rosenthal and the Mount Anthony Nordic Ski Team during the day. Together they will set up a registration tent and refreshment area where they put the official clock, finish chute, water, and the prized loaves of Vermont Bread.

For more information on snowshoe racing or to see more photos, visit Western Massachusetts Athletic Club online. You will notice in the photos that the athletes tend to be smiling more at the finish line than any other place.

Good luck to all snowshoe racing competitors this year!

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