Cold, blus­tery weather no match for snow­shoe rac­ers

The Glengarry News - - Sports In The Glens - News For com­plete re­sults and more photos, please see our web­site at www.sportsinth­e­glens.ca Sean Bray

BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK

Staff Nick Best of Ot­tawa, his eye­lashes and eye­brows painted white with frost like Old Man Win­ter, flew over the fin­ish line with a time of 36:41, 25 sec­onds ahead of fel­low fron­trun­ner Charley Mur­phy of Toronto and Gatineau’s Alexan­dre Michel ( 40: 22) to cap­ture First Over­all Male in Satur­day’s 7.55-kilo­me­tre Sum­mer­stown For­est stage of the Dion Eastern On­tario Snow­shoe Run­ning Se­ries.

It was Best’s third vic­tory in the cham­pi­onship bat­tle that ends this week­end on Feb. 21 in Na­pa­nee with the Red Barn Snow­shoe Race.

Best and 28 other ath­letes braved the frigid tem­per­a­tures (-14 °C with a wind­chill of -24) and slip­pery driv­ing con­di­tions to get to the race.

There were 10 no-shows be­cause of the weather, and a group of five rac­ers from Ot­tawa ar­rived al­most half an hour af­ter the start of the race, but ran the course any­way.

For those who came, it was a great day in woods, and first-timers at the pic­turesque site were im­pressed with the fast and tech­ni­cal course, the beauty of the woods, and the race’s or­ga­niz­ers.

“I am here be­cause Gilles did a great job at Mor­ris­burg, and I wanted to do it again,” said Best who was rac­ing in Sum­mer­stown for the first time.

He was re­fer­ring to race or­ga­nizer Gilles Parisien who in­au­gu­rated an ex­cit­ing and new Jan. 10 night­time race for the se­ries at Up­per Canada Vil­lage (Mor­ris­burg). It was the first race in the se­ries with a course that looped through the site’s his­toric vil­lage, its build­ings lit up by close to a mil­lion lights. Best won that race too. “I’m get­ting OK at it,” he said about snowshoein­g which he took up three years ago. “I’m a run­ner at my core and it does trans­late rea­son­ably well,” added the un­der­stated marathoner and trail racer.

The race turned out to be very much a fam­ily af­fair in keep­ing with the Fam­ily Day week­end. Ce­line Best of Gatineau was on the same win­ning streak as her brother, fin­ish­ing first in the women’s cat­e­gory. And Charley and Katy Mur­phy, a cou­ple who drove in from Toronto for the race, grabbed sec­ond spots.

Lo­cal favourite Rob Lefebvre, who lives just down the road from Sum­mer­stown For­est in Wil­liamstown, had to set­tle for fourth place this time, af­ter mount­ing the podium the pre­vi­ous two years.

“Once you got warmed up it was beau­ti­ful,” com­mented Lefebvre, who said that the race was very fast this year. This was the sec­ond Dion race this sea­son for Lefebvre, who has been com­pet­ing in the Mad Trap­per races in Wake­field, win­ning sec­ond and third spots. That se­ries winds up this week­end.

In the women’s di­vi­sion, Joan McCuaig from New­ing­ton, fin­ished fifth, just ahead of Jen­nifer Gareau of Wil­liamstown, and won the Mas­ters Fe­male class

The race was or­ga­nized by the Friends of the Sum­mer­stown Trails (FOTST) with 12 vol­un­teers on site.

“It was beau­ti­ful; I can’t be­lieve it, the trails are amaz­ing here,” said women’s first-place win­ner Ce­line Best. “This se­ries of races has been a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover all these parks across On­tario. We’ve been rac­ing in a dif­fer­ent place ev­ery week­end, and it’s been fab­u­lous.”

Some­thing new this year was the in­volve­ment of Bryan Lam­bert from Kingston-based Run­ning By De­sign, a race man­age­ment ser­vices com­pany. Lam­bert co­or­di­nated the race re­sults and on his way back to Kingston, posted them from his lap­top.

at 8-15-1. Char-Lan did not have a team in this di­vi­sion this year.

Play­off matchups set

The UCMHL play­off for­mat is first to four points in a se­ries. NGS will play sixth-seeded Smiths Falls, start­ing in Finch on Feb. 21 at 12:30 p.m.

The Glens are matched with sec­ond-place South Grenville. Game two is in Alexandria on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. –

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

SNOWY SPRINT: Jen­nifer Gareau of Wil­liamstown, front, and Lynn McCuaig of Lan­caster were among the good turnout of lo­cal run­ners in this year’s snowshoein­g race.

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