Locals win snowshoe races
BY MARGARET CALDBICK
Staff It was another great day on the home trails for Williamstown native Rob Lefebvre, who sizzled the 7.5 km course, lopping across the finish line in first at 34 minutes, 51 seconds in the men’s division, on Saturday, marking the third time in as many years that the Williamstown runner has topped the field of the Summerstown Forest leg, of the Dion Snowshoe Series.
Race day was a frigid minus 12, with little wind following a blustery night of fierce treetoppling 80 km/h winds that prompted a special weather statement. The sole casualty of the freezing temperature was the digital time clock which froze, leaving timekeepers to clock the race manually.
Race director Gilles Parisien predicted fast times after Friday’s thaw was followed by deep freezing temperatures overnight. The winning times were respectively three and five minutes faster than last year for the men’s and women’s overall winners.
Lynda Gingras of Ottawa, in her first race in the Summerstown Forest, heated up the track in the 7.5, finishing first overall in the women’s division with a time of 36:30. In the process, she put a real scare in Lefebvre, who felt her on his heels the entire race.
The men’s winner in the shorter recreational 3.5 km race was Williamstown runner Wendell Lafave, in his second-ever snowshoe race, finishing in a stellar time of 23:57.
“I’m not a snowshoe racer, I was averaging 32 minutes in practice, and I’ve only been out three times,” exclaimed a delighted Lafave.
Lefebvre, in the 7.5 km men’s, was followed by Guy Dorion in second place at 37:29, and Philip Arsenault in third at 39:27.
Gingras was followed by Harmony Koiter in second in the women’s race at 41:40, and Lisa Leskien in third at 42:14.
A bright light in the race was 8-year-old sensational Braxton To from Ottawa. The youngster showshoed the 7.5 km race with his dad, Cliff Trafford. Though he finished last in the competitive adult race, to finish was an accomplishment for the young athlete, who is training for a 10 km race. Braxton says he loved the forest course except for the few uphill sections. He attributes his finish to listening to his body and alternating between running and walking to make it to the finish.
At the conclusion of the race, medals and prizes provided by local sponsors were handed out to the first-place finishers, and as is traditional, the rest of the prizes were drawn and presented to all participants in the spirit of camaraderie which prevails in the Summerstown leg of the Dion series.
Participants are always impressed by the food and hospitality of the volunteers at the Summerstown race.
Inside the warm-up trailer, returning volunteers Suzanne Ross and Janice Jodoin helped organize registration and laid out the generous after-race buffet of calorie-rich food and hot chocolate.
Among the race’s 15 volunteers was Carole Pepin, out on the course taking photos for the race’s website.
A portion of proceeds from the race will be donated to help support Beyond21.
Complete race results are available on our website at sportsintheglens.com
Series points were awarded in the 7.5 km race towards the Dion Ontario Snowshoe Running Series. The Summerstown Forest leg was the fourth of the series.
Next on tap is the Dion Ganaraska Forest Snowshoe Race (near Port Hope), set for Feb. 17, with the finale, the Dion Howlin' Husky Snowshoe Race, booked for Feb. 23 in the Kingston area.
Family Day at the trails
The Friends of the Summerstown Trails invite you to take advantage of the trails over the Family Day long weekend. Special events are planned and equipment rental will be available. Please see our website for updated details.