Fun was had today. There was huffing and puffing. There was gasping and screams of delight. At times there was tripping and falling and other times it felt like my inner five year-old was letting loose. This good clean fun was had in the great outdoors and saw myself and many other hardy folks strap on the snowshoes to run, hike, scramble, tumble and laugh out loud during the second race in the Atlas Mad Trapper Snowshoe Series.
Located just 40 minutes north of Ottawa, near Wakefield, Quebec, the ARK is located on an amazing piece of property that truly is a big outdoor playground. This was my first time out to the ARK and boy have I been missing out. Think of a large yet cozy building surrounded by nature – this is the ARK.
I’d been curious about the snowshoe races held at the ARK ever since Derrick and Natasha started doing them. They told me how much fun they were and when some of my other friends agreed, I made it a goal this year to participate in the race series. I missed the first early race due to my lingering running injury – but today I was ready to go.
Of course there was a big pile of nerves along with this excitement and eagerness. But once I made my way to the ARK, pinned on my number and chatted with friends and new faces – I soon felt comfortable. It was an interesting group of people – dedicated runners, avid skiers, serious cyclists, and folks who just love to be outside. A pretty darn good group.
The race and race course were simply awesome. This was definitely a “hilly course”. These hills combined with the deep white snow made for some challenging times. I was very happy to learn before the race that it is “okay” to walk the hills. This was a valuable piece of information. Thanks to fine pace setting by Dawn, Heather and Vicki – it was a challenging yet enjoyable time to be running and hiking. Admittedly there were moments when I didn’t think I could climb another step but thoughts of the fun downhill kept me going. Once I found my groove on the descents, I really had a blast – this is when the inner five year-old comes out – I discovered I just had to “let go” and literally jump down the hills in the deep snow. So much fun.
The atmosphere of the event was excellent. Very friendly and outgoing. Afterwards everyone hung out in the ARK, enjoying some great food and tasty beverages. A large number of prizes were given away at random. Lots of laughs and stories were told of experiences out on the race course. Kudos to those folks who did the 10 km race – I cannot imagine doing two loops of that course. (Well, maybe next year…)
The next race in the series is on Jan. 26 and everyone says this one is the most fun – we run at night in the woods. Awesome. I’m really looking forward to this one (also because it promises to be less hilly!). If you’re new to snowshoes and snowshoe running – don’t be shy – come on out. This was only my second time running on my Atlas Run snowshoes and I really haven’t been doing much running – it didn’t matter.
Thanks to the organizer, Mike Caldwell and to everyone who was so encouraging and welcoming – I’m hooked.