Lost Lake trails favorite Yeti course 

Snowshoe runners make most of hard-packed conditions

The Yeti’s back, and it’s happy to be here.

After losing all of the 2004-2005 season to mild weather, the Yeti Snowshoe Series is starting over this season, according to organizer Marc Campbell. That’s why he was so excited to see close to 100 runners turning up for the Whistler race on Saturday, Feb. 11, on the Lost Lake trails.

"We’re back to year one with this. There’s a lot of people who are still with us from the two years we had before last season, but as far as getting the word out to new people we had to start over again at the beginning," said Campbell. "We’ve got close to a hundred people, which for a first year event would be pretty good, so I’d say we’re way ahead of the game."

Campbell spent a busy few days shoveling, trail marking, and generally getting the course in shape for the competition, which included a 5 km loop of the Lost Lake trail network. The 10 km runners would do two laps of the course.

Overall, the effort paid off with racers raving about the speed and physical characteristics of the route.

Andrew Clarke of Snowrunning.com won the 10 km race in 52 minutes and nine seconds, after leading for most of the race. Ryan Ervin of Team Yeti took the lead on the second lap, but Clarke blew past him with just a few hundred metres left to win by close to 16 seconds.

"I just love it up here, the trails are awesome," said Clarke. "I think they’re the only trails that were designed for snowshoe running, at least that’s what it feels like."

According to Clarke, Ervin was ahead for about five minutes, towards the end of the race.

"He was behind me the whole way, and I knew he was going to pass so I just tried to stay on his heels after that, he was just a couple of steps in front of me," said Clarke. "With about two minutes left before the end I saw an opening and took it at full speed, and actually built a bit of a gap heading into the finish.

"It’s good to have someone there the whole time pushing you, you really feel you’re in a race unlike when you’re out somewhere on your own. He definitely pushed me.

"It’s definitely one of the hardest activities you can do – I had an average heart rate of 185 (beats per minute) at the end, which is why it’s such great cross-training for so many sports."

Third place went to Mark Justin of Snowrunning.com in 53:57, while Nate Wood and Gary Robbins of Team Yeti were fourth and fifth in times of 54:12 and 54:41 respectively.

The top woman was Carey Sather of Snowrunning.com in 1:00:44, followed by Lisa Floe in 1:02:39 and Penny Lidstone in 1:07:59.

In the 5 km race, local adventure racer Jen Segger, who is also with Team Yeti finished first overall among men and women in 30:20.

She leaves Wednesday for a 30-hour Swamp Stomp adventure race in Florida, and decided to do the short course to speed her recovery from a bout with plantar fasciitis, a painful heel injury.

"It was a really fun trail to run – up and down, twisting and turning, no long straight-aways, and you can never see too far ahead," she said. "You had to watch where you were going, but it just went by so fast because you were so focused on what was ahead, you ignored everything else."

Segger teaches snowshoe running clinics every Wednesday night. She will also try to race in upcoming events at Mount Seymour on Feb. 25 and the The Yeti Ascent on Apr. 9, but is about to get very busy with adventure racing. Starting in a few weeks she’ll be doing about three races a month until the fall.

For that, she says snowshoe running is the ultimate cross-training event. "It’s different, it’s fun, and it’s a killer workout – running 5 km on your snowshoes feels like 10 km on the road, and a hard 10 km at that," she said.

David Shaw was second to Segger in the 5 km in 32:37. Nick Ivanov was third overall and second among the men in 33:37, and J.T. Wong was the third male in 34:02.

Behind Segger, Catherine Oreyell was the second woman in fourth overall with a time of 34:01, while Sigrid Otto was third in 35:24.

In the team categories, Snowrunning.com finished first overall, followed by Team Yeti and Club Smart Ass.

For more information and complete results, visit www.theyeti.ca.

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