Snowshoers race to benefit Beaver Brook
Friday, January 18, 2013
When old man winter makes his way into New England, many people come out and start their favorite winter sports, whether it is playing hockey, skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. For the racers of the Granite State Snowshoe Series, snow and cold means one thing – grab your snowshoes.
On Jan. 12, more than 90 racers descended into Hollis to take part in the first of seven races in the Granite State Snowshoeing Challenge. The GSS consists of a set of seven races held across New Hampshire, with the racers having to compete in at least five races in order to place and qualify for the championship. The racers taking part in the three-mile race at the Jan. 12 Beaver Brook 5K Snowshoe Race and Walk paid an entry fee of $25, with all proceeds going to the Beaver Brook Foundation. This year’s race pulled in more than $500.
The man behind it all, Michael Amarello, of Merrimack, has been a runner his entire life, and started snowshoeing 15 years ago. Once he got into snowshoeing, he organized the first race and for the past 12 years, it has become a staple in Hollis every winter.
Along with the race at Beaver Brook, Amarello also gets called to host races from various people who want to organize a race with the help of his company, 3C Race Productions.
Equipped with a megaphone, Amarello directs all 98 racers to the starting line at the main compound of Beaver Brook at exactly 10 a.m.
With the start, a large group of racers takes the lead in the front of the pack, with snow flying in every which way as the racers fight for the front spots. As the race continues, the pack that lead the race slowly starts to thin out as racers set their paces. By the time the race comes to a close, the runners are spread apart, with leader and winner Jim Johnson coming in just above 22 minutes, giving him a two minute difference from second-place finisher, Steve Dowsett.
Although last years race did not feature much snow, this year’s race was fortunate to have plenty, with the Beaver Brook’s groomed trails creating a good surface for the three-mile race in the woods. With people coming from all over New England to race, the ages ranged from 10-70.
Johnson, of Madison and a member of the Boston Athletic Association, was running in the 5K for his fourth time.
His love for the sport started when his teammates got him into snowshoeing, as they were already racing. His friend, Dave Dunham, won the first National Snowshoeing National Championship. Johnson’s teammate for the day was Melissa Donais.
Being an avid runner who said she hates snow, Donais decided to give the snowshoeing race a chance as an opportunity to reconcile her hatred for winter, she said. But with few snowshoe races available, she did some reasearch and found the Granite State Snowshoe Series.
One of the main teams making a major appearance in the race was Acidotic Racing. The racing team, owned by Chris Dunn, usually competes in various road races during the other three seasons, but uses the Granite State Series to keep in shape.
With Dunn as organizer of the Granite State Snowshoe Series, Acidotic Racing hosts three races in the series, including the Championship on March 9.
There are many trails and parks in the area to snowshoe. For more information on joining the Granite State SnowShoeing Series, visit www.granitestatesnowshoeseries.org. The group’s next race is Saturday, Jan. 19, at Whitaker Woods in North Conway. They will also hold the Horse Hill 7K Snowshoe Race at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Horse Hill Nature Preserve on Amherst Road in Merrimack (Exit 11 off F.E. Everett Turnpike. Entry fee is $25, and benefits the Horse Hill Nature Preserve.
For more information on 3C Race Productions and a full schedule, visit www.3CRaceProductions or call Michael Amarello at 429-8879.
Also visit the 3C website for full results of the Beaver Brook race.