Record draw on hand for B.C. snowshoe race
Blue skies and perfect race conditions greeted the competitors who showed up Saturday morning for the second installment of the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series.
And show up they did.
The multiple-format snowshoe race drew more than 500 racers ranging from professional athletes to fun runners statewide.
The start-finish area at Beaver Creek’s Strawberry Park was a sight to see, as a literal army of snowshoers awaited the opening bell.
“It was a fantastic turnout today,” said Amy Hornyak of Highline Sports and Entertainment, the organizers of the race. “We had 400 competitors last month and today we had almost 600. There were a lot of kids out here today and everyone seemed to have a really good time.”
Two of the High Country’s finest uber-athletes would dominate the field on Saturday. Vail’s Josiah Middaugh took the lead a mile into the men’s 10K race, and Dillon’s Danelle Ballengee did the same on the women’s side. Both won their respective races.
“She’s fast. She’s got a faster turnover than I do on the flats,” said Anita Ortiz, who would come in second in the women’s 10K. “I could gain a little ground on her on the uphills, but then we would hit a flat and she’d be gone.”
As for Middaugh, when he’s feeling good, he’s hard to beat, and, unfortunately for the rest of the field Saturday, he was feeling it.
“Usually, if I’m feeling it from the start I’ll try to push the pace,” said Middaugh. “I felt good today and had a little lead after the first mile so I just kept pushing it.”
Greg Krause finished second in the men’s 10k in impressive fashion. He would cross the finish line about 75 seconds behind the charging Middaugh, who finished in 53 minutes, 58 seconds.
Ryan Goheen won the men’s 5K in a time of 26:21. His counterpart in the women’s race Heidi Vosbeck won came home in 30:46.
The Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series continues Feb. 21st at Strawberry Park.
For those who can’t wait a month, the Pedal Power Meadow Mountain 9-Miler is being held next Saturday in Minturn.
David L’Heureux is a freelance writer based in Vail.
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