Over his career as an international snowshoe racer, Tom Sobal won more than 130 snowshoe races and five world championship titles. In his wide footprints comes the 2013 United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) National Snowshoe Team, including Josiah Middaugh of Colorado and Stephanie Howe of Oregon who claimed first place as the senior male and female champs. Second place in the men’s division went to Minnesota’s Eric Hartmark.
In the junior men and women’s division, Justin Miller of Oregon and McKenna Ramsay of Colorado won. Not far behind in third place were Midwesterners Paul Schmidt and Bonnie Nutt, both of Wisconsin.
All of these snowshoe athletes have something in common: they won their overall divisions. They demonstrated tenacity, perseverance and athletic prowess. The snowshoe racing community admires and respects them, as well as the others who placed in national, regional and local snowshoe races.
However, what about the snowshoe racing enthusiast who comes in late or last in a race? They do not get recognized, nor are they admired in the same way as the top competitors. They get overlooked, coming across the finish line after most if not all of their competitors and the spectators have retreated inside for food, warm beverages and socializing.
We should not lose sight that everyone in a snowshoe racing event contributes to the thrill and competition that makes the sport a growing phenomena. Everyone has significance at these events, even the person who comes in dead last. Every competitor is part of the snowshoe racing community no matter where they place.
The entirety of Jim Joque's article about snowshoe racing - including a comprehensive calendar of 2013-2014 race throughout the upper Midwest - appeared in the December 2013 print edition of Silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call 888/706-4045 or subscribe online here and never miss an issue!