Mad Trapper Snowshoe

Race Report Contributor: Harold, Judy

Event Name / Date / Location: Mad Trapper Evening Snowshoe Race / Jan 28, 2023 / The Arc

Synopsis: Small intimate venue with spontaneous race director Mike Caldwell always puts on a great experience! Great trails through guaranteed hilly terrain zig-zag through the woods with well marked course, and a great downhill finish. Post race Chilli and Brownies are trademark, and prizing (from Bushtukah) not reserved for winners: just play along with Mike and see what happens.

My Race Experience (Harold): I’ve been out to The Arc a few times, but never run in any of the events – leaving that to Judy. Today was going to be different because, Judy just signed me up, as I was driving out with her anyway! When we arrived, also connected with Wendy and Mike, so we had our pod of close friends.

As always, the race starts at The Arc, and we’re quickly checked in and handed a bib by Mike. The indoor venue at The Arc is spacious, and heated by a nice wood burning stove. Plenty of live-edge benches to sit on (made by Mike), and we quicky got on our layers, and I was working on the bindings for the fine Atlas Snowshoes I was able to borrow from Mike as well. A quick briefing from Mike. . . 5&10K runners follow the PURPLE course, and the 3K runners follow the RED course, and we were ready to line up outside.

Off we went, and directly uphill! Ugh, a grind up double track which quickly spread out the runners! It also quickly made me realize my bindings were not going to hold, so had to pause withing 200m, and tighten with a bonus knot while everyone else was dashing off. No worries, and got into the grind of climbing the hill, still in contact with the back part of the runners. We all found our pace, and it was easy passing, as everyone was polite and courteous pulling over. Up and down, through the trees in the total darkness with only headlamps to guide you is actually a very satisfying way to run through the deep snow. The trail did zig-zag and double back, and we also got to see some of the lead runners nearly cross our path early on in the run.

Things going great for first 4km, switching from single to double track a few times in a deep 1 foot partially compacted snow route. Ideal snowshoeing for me. As Mike promised, there’s a bit of a climb around the 4k mark, that brought most of us to a walk, trudging up the steep climb. Huffing and puffing, at the top, we had a few more rolling hills, and then we could see lights of The Arc again. A fast descent down a steep hill, and we made it back with a high-5 and cheer from the finishing crew. Delighted I just signed up for 5K, headed inside very damp from the snow and effort of the run. Great to have a full change of cloths, and quickly swapped into those, and then dug into the Chili and hot chocolate provided. There was even a birthday cake for a friend turning ’78’, and Monique’s legendary brownies!

Great to see alot of familiar faces, and the traditional antics around prizing: winners don’t take away the prizes. You need to participate in Mike’s games to pick something up, and it’s always great run by all to see how that unfolds. For myself, was lucky and did manage to win a round to pickup a new headlamp – something I was looking to refresh.

Thanks to event sponsor: BUSHTUKAH. The RunK2J Hoodies were also a hit with other participants, as the ideal post-winter race layer. All the cool kids are wearing them! RunK2J participants: Wendy, Judy, Harold all did the 5K, while Mike dug down and finished the 10K course. Well done to all!

Would we do it again? Of course! The Mad Trapper events are always fun, with Mike and Monique always hosting a highly amusing and personal event.

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