Run-ski rivalry continues in Billy Dutton Uphill | SierraSun.com
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Run-ski rivalry continues in Billy Dutton Uphill

Peter Fain
Running on Snow

It doesnand#8217;t happen often. Actually, only twice has a snowshoer or runner won the Billy Dutton uphill. The first time was in 2002. The snow was falling and it was deep and slow. In the end I managed to stay ahead and claim victory. Afterward, every excuse in the book was thrown out why a skier didnand#8217;t win. This year there were no excuses.

In ideal conditions for both runners and skiers, JP Donovan took off as if the race was only 800 meters long and never looked back. There were plenty of the usual battles behind him where skiers and snowshoers went neck and neck and#8212; snowshoers usually pulling ahead on the steeper climbs while the skiers pulled ahead when the pitch levels a bit (just a bit).

And that that is the normal story, even for the front of the pack. But, unless a snowshoer gains significant ground, the chances of holding off a skier for the last half-mile of gradual downhill to the finish line are impossible. Since this was JPand#8217;s first time doing this race, the only tip I could really give him was to build a good lead. He finished with a time of 34:39, which is remarkable.

I spent some time digging up old results because I wanted to know who owns the record. In 2000, Marcus Nash made it to the top so fast that the finish line timers had to run off the cable car to the finish line just in time to catch him crossing it. His time was 32:05.

For the record, Tav Streit has the second-fastest time of 34:26, which he set in 2007. Respectively, I had the quickest time on snowshoes, of 36:13 in 2009. What this shows me is that when it comes to racing, JP has finally leveled the playing field. I canand#8217;t complain about the downhill finish and John Walsh canand#8217;t complain about a snowshoer/runner winning the whole thing.

I suspect this friendly rivalry will continue, as more snowshoers seem to be participating than skiers. Itand#8217;s just a matter of time before snowshoers grab nearly all the spots in the top 10. I guess that was a challenge.

In all fairness, the records I found did not mention womenand#8217;s times nor did they go further back than 1999. I would like to recognize the best female time in both disciplines and see how the race unfolded in the and#8217;90s, not to mention those who have participated since the first race in 1989. If you know, let us know. The race will always be in Billyand#8217;s honor, but it sure is a fun race.

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


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