“Addicted to Love,” as Robert Palmer sang, and love is a byword of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, home to the 2015 Dion USSSA National Snowshoe Championships. Mark Elmore, USSSA Sports Director, added, “We are thrilled to work with the Chippewa Off Road Bike Association for the 2015 Dion USSSA National Snowshoe Championships; everyone is looking forward to enjoying Eau Claire’s Wisconsin-hospitality.”
Here’s to the love of land and clear water, where eau claire falls from the sky. That clear water accumulates in the form of white snow filling Lowes Creek County Park the battleground for this year’s championships, with qualified snowshoers and citizen racers expected from throughout the United States, Canada and even Mexico.
Palmer crooned, “You like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh, yeah. It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough” snowshoe racing so you romance those snowshoes clinging to the feet as your speed around the elaborate championship courses. And this year adds a brand new chapter to the passion of this pure sport: the inaugural Redfeather USSSA Half-Marathon National Snowshoe Championships on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. 13.1 miles of one of the most popular distances in sport. Enter any of the events HERE.
USSSA Sports Director Mark Elmore said, “This new race offers an even longer challenge than our traditional 10 km championships for those who want to test themselves in a competitive environment.” The Lowes Creek County Park layout will be two 10 km laps plus an add-on to complete the required mileage. Note the half marathon has become the fastest growing distance in running.
Test the course previews on Friday afternoon, February 27, always an important time to ready oneself for the championships. Knowing the key points of the layout, including those twists-and-turns and important climbs one comes to expect in a snowshoe national competition, allows one to toe the start line with increased confidence and a personal race plan.
Friday night’s reception at The Local Store in the Volume One World Headquarters, features a renown collection of Chippewa Valley artifacts snowshoers can pick-and-choose while enjoying a night of frivolity. Revealed will be the 2016 national championship host city and dates, always an exciting moment from Elmore. Then get to bed and sleep tight!
Juniors kick off their 5 km racing at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday morning followed by the Senior Men’s 10 km Championship at 10 concluding with the Women’s Senior Championship start at 11:30 a.m. Listen for the call of the race by Elmore, who knows everyone it seems, and adds to the total enjoyment of the race for spectators along with friends and family of competitors.
The Fun continues as the Kid’s Kilo races at 1 p.m., open to all who are 12 and under; just register, and you’re in! At 1:15 race The Powder Keg Snowshoe 5 km, a run or walk, you choose, open to all.
The ever-fun national championship awards ceremony kicks off at 3 p.m. at the nearby Expo Center where the fast-paced event moves through the medals so the first assembly of the new national snowshoe teams along with national champions are introduced and made official.
Will this be your year? All listen as the recipient of the 2015 Cindy Brochman Snowshoe Magazine Snowshoe Person of the Year, one of the sport’s most prestigious honors, hears their name for this year’s award called.
After all that fun, let’s eat! The championship banquet serves up some of Wisconsin’s finest cuisine (Spaghetti dinner with vegetables, garden salad, Italian bread, beverage and a dessert!) at the Saving Grace Lutheran Church. Check out how you can buy fuel, bananas, energy bars and almost anything else you need at Kwik Trip (and other retailers) while helping the church’s treasury.
Sunday morning’s races shoe-off with the new Half-Marathon starting at 9 a.m. Those who race the 4 x 2.5 km Team Snowshoe Relay give chase at 9:15 in perhaps the most fun race in snowshoeing. Women’s, Men’s and Mixed (mixed-up?) teams fill the roster annually in an exciting time for everyone. Those who race the team event swear by it. Show up; you’ll find a team or organize your own.
Announcement of the Team Snowshoe Awards begins at 11:15. The Half-Marathon winners and finishers receive their recognition at 1 p.m.
Mark Elmore then closes the 2015 championships in his energetic upbeat way, sending all on the road with new visions of sugarplums and medals in store for the 2016 championship event.