A brave field of runners tackled the Racing Gnome Snowshoe Races on a sunny but brisk morning, January 29, 2017. The 5k and 10k races are produced by the Donner Party Mountain Runners (DPMR) at Auburn Ski Club.
“The snow was just perfect this year,” observed experienced snowshoe racer Sarah McMahan. “It was packed perfectly and the course has such a good mixture of some big climbs and gradual downs.”
Three members of the McMahan family from Incline Village, Nevada, raced, and all three posted podium finishes, including 10-year-old Noah.
Ross McMahan (Atlas Snow-Shoe Racing Team) took the 10k win with a time of 54:35. Race Director Peter Fain (also Atlas Snow-Shoe) of Truckee, California, jumped in after finalizing the course and finish area to take second in 55:06. Jeff Orr of Reno, Nevada, rounded out the men’s 10k podium with a time of 1:02:14.
In the women’s 10k, Sarah Raitter (Atlas Snow-Shoe Racing Team) defended her title with a time of 1:03:29. Sarah McMahan (also Atlas Snow-Shoe Racing Team) followed in 1:07:49. Kim Raynor took third in her first snowshoe race with a time of 1:17:57. Nevadans swept the women’s podium, with Raitter and Raynor from Reno and McMahan from Incline Village.
Luis Contreras of Reno, Nevada, won the men’s 5k with a time of 29:23 in his first-ever snowshoe race. Veteran Noah McMahan of Incline Village, Nevada, at age 10, place second in 35:49. Bryan Ting of San Francisco, California, finished third with a time of 39:55
Helen Pelster defended her 5k title with a time of 36:23. Kelly Fuson finished second in 44:57, followed by Melanie Colburn in 47:17. The 5k women’s podium was held by Californians, with Pelster from Truckee, Fuson from South San Francisco, and Colburn from San Francisco.
Some of the San Francisco contingent represented the “November Project.” Fuson explained, “the November Project is a free fitness community with a big chapter in San Francisco.” They offer free weekly workouts, often running.
Ting, who experienced the podium in his first-ever snowshoe race, is training to run his first 100-mile trail race, Rio del Lago, in November.
Several others, in addition to the McMahans, made the Racing Gnome a family affair. Stephen Borden, 11, ran the 5k with his mother, Jenelle Potvin, who serves as a volunteer on the DPMR Board of Directors.
Sophia Hemmen, 13, of Fair Oaks, California, enjoyed her first snowshoe race with her mother, Jennifer Hemmen.
“It’s harder than running,” said the younger Hemmen, “but it’s really beautiful. My Mom is always talking about how much she loves snowshoe running,” which is why Sophia decided to join the race at the last moment.
The Donner Party Mountain Runners is a grassroots non-profit running group that exists to inform, inspire and connect mountain runners in Truckee-Tahoe. The Racing Gnome Snowshoe Race is produced entirely by volunteers.
The Auburn Ski Club Training Center, located on Boreal Ridge Rd. in Soda Springs, CA, is a non-profit winter sports facility dedicated to the lifelong enjoyment of winter sports.