Hammond Hill will play host to one Canada’s most prestigious winter endurance races when the Canadian snowshoe running championship comes to the village in March.
Part of the national Dion Canadian Snowshoe Race Series (10 races organized across Canada), the race will see participants running up to 10 kilometres with snowshoes strapped to their feet around the trails of the Hammond camping site for the third year in a row, with the additional honour of being the venue for the Championship race.
“We are incredibly excited to bring the Canadian Snowshoe Running Championships to Clarence-Rockland and Hammond Hill, » said Brad Cartier, co-founder of Hammond Hill. « Our scenic trails and serene environment provide the perfect backdrop for this exhilarating sport, and we’re eager to showcase our beautiful park to athletes and spectators alike.”
Derrick Spafford, coordinator of the race series, said Hammond Hill is a great choice for the venue of this year’s Championship for a number of reasons, but particularly for its more consistent snowpack.
“Obviously the sights are beautiful and its proximity to Ottawa makes it accessible to people flying in from across the country,” said Spafford. “But Hammond also seems to be a little bit of a snow belt. You can go 20 minutes out of the village and see considerably less snow.
In the past the race series has had to hold events without snow, substituting snowshoes for trail-running shoes, but Spafford is confident that it won’t be the case this year.
“Of course there’ll be snow,” he said.
Given that the venue is playing host to the championship race, Spafford expects to see hundreds participate, but the numbers are difficult to predict as the sport continues to grow every year.
The Dion Canadian Snowshoe Series, supported by Snowshoe Canada, has been instrumental in promoting snowshoeing as a sport and recreational activity in Canada.
“Our goal has always been to nurture the growth of snowshoe running across Canada,” stated Spafford. “By hosting the championships at Hammond Hill, we’re not just celebrating the sport’s expansion but also bringing together a community that shares a passion for outdoor adventure.”
The race is set to take place in the morning of Saturday, March 2. If racers are not interested in competing for points to add to their series total and looking to take part in a shorter race, there will also be a five kilometre race known as the Snowsquall 5 classic. A one kilometre youth race will also be held for those under 14 years of age.
Snowshoe Canada is offering a prize of $500 to the top three male and female finishers of the 10k main event. They will also provide medals to the top three age groupers in ten-year age groupings.
The registration and fee payment deadline is February 16, with a late registration at an additional cost on February 26. Registration can be done online at www.trackie.com.