36 snowshoers compete in inaugural Racing Gnome Snow Run | SierraSun.com

36 snowshoers compete in inaugural Racing Gnome Snow Run

Peter Fain
Running on Snow
Submitted to swright@sierrasun.comDawn Bertsch and Brenda McConnell high five atop Crows Nest during the Racing Gnome 10K Snow Run at Royal Gorge this past Sunday.
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It doesn’t matter what sport you participate in, be it a downhill Banzai race, a full-throttle cross country race or snowshoe race and#8212; the exhilaration of the starting line makes participation well worth it.

You don’t have to be a front-runner to get this feeling. If you bring up the rear, it feels the same way. So what I’m getting at is get out there and be a participant. More often than not, the event benefits an organization in need.

I had 36 enthusiastic runners toe the line for the inaugural Racing Gnome 10K Snow Run and 5K Ramble, with 21 of them braving the 10-kilometer race.

The front-runners battled for quite awhile in a pack of about five until they began the climb up Nose Dive, where Mark Mcmanus of Mill Valley pulled away. John Donovan and Ross McMahan of Incline Village chased hard.

The mid-packers had different plans. Rather than racing, they worked together. Almost everyone was working in pairs, keeping conversation and enjoying some epic terrain.

The women’s field was led from start to finish Sarah McMahan of Incline Village. Even though she wasn’t challenged by a runner on her heels, she was definitely humbled by the course. To paraphrase her at the finish: and#8220;Really tough course, Peter. I expect nothing less.and#8221;

Betsy Nye of Truckee came in second with a huge smile. She was a tough one to convince, because 10 kilometers is almost not worth it for this 100-mile champion.

And there was Dawn Bertsch and Brenda McConnell. They brought up the rear but did it with such enthusiasm and pleasure. They really took time to enjoy the sights that Royal Gorge throws at you.

The 5K course was far tamer, with only one big climb. But that doesn’t mean the racing wasn’t on. Evan Ford and Kim Field both raced hard, taking the top two spots. But Marrissa Ellero takes top honors in my eyes. In the 70-plus age bracket, she finished strong and with energy to spare. Must be something in the water in Italy.

All in all I think we have a new event for the area that will stick around for some time to come. The compliments and smiles make hosting races worth the energy.

If you missed it and still want to experience a snowshoe race, you still have time. Northstar is hosting its third snowshoe race of the season this Saturday, Feb. 12. The start is at the their Nordic center mid mountain and it begins around 11 a.m. This race benefits the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe and because of that, dogs are invited (on leash only). The course is a 5K, or two laps for the 10K.

Get out there and toe the line with your best friend.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a Truckee resident and 2009 National Snowshoe Champion. He may be contacted at runonsnow@gmail.com.