The sound of over 1100 Bigfeet (snowshoes) pounding the trails was deafening. Is this the biggest snowshoe race in Michigan, in the Midwest, in the world? Race director Jen Teeples, welcomed over 550 racers to perfect conditions, a beautiful, snow packed trail, and a pristine, deeply wooded course for the 19th or 20th (not sure of the race age) Bigfoot 5K & 10K Snowshoe Race, January 20, at Timber Ridge Resort, located on the South East edge of Traverse City and sponsored by Running Fit. Race results can be found at this link; Bigfoot Results, 2018
A risk of no-snow was due to warm weather. But the Bigfoot website covers the weather contingency. The website says; “Registration takes place around a roaring fire at the beautiful log lodge at Timber Ridge Resort. Usual crowd about 500 entered and 100 rent snowshoes, probably their first time on them, so no excuse, come join us. The learning curve is zero, strap em’ on and run. The course is a super hilly off trail run with plenty of logs to jump and branches to duck, like a leg of Dances with Dirt! There are a handful of very serious shoers at Bigfoot because it’s the Midwest qualifier for the National Championship Snowshoe race. Serious stuff! What if there is no snow? It would be the first time if there wasn’t. There will be snow … but if there isn’t, YOU WILL BE PART OF HISTORY, RUNNING A SNOWSHOE RACE IN YOUR RUNNING SHOES. I love this race! I love a winter road trip to Traverse City! If there’s no snow, bring your trail shoes, the race goes on no matter what the conditions! How cool is that!”
Every runner is a “winner” and everyone has a story to share about the benefits to them of running. We will attempt to share a few of those stories. We couldn’t talk to every runner, but Bill Ahrenberg, 65, of Cheboygan, was a two pack-a-day smoker, 15 years ago. He is a recovering alcoholic. Bill attributes his current good health to his six mile runs every other day. Congratulations to Bill. Walt Pheney, 75, from Farmington Hills, beat prostate cancer 8 years ago. Walt also recovered from a broken leg as he was hit by a careless motorist. Walt was accompanied to the Bigfoot by 16 of his running buddies. The group stayed in motels. This group is a great example of how area events, such as the Bigfoot, help our local economy. Dan Mosher, 67, is with the same group. Dan beat prostate cancer 2 years ago, and beat an alcohol allergy. Rick Hammond, 67, from Fallston, MD, with the group, overcame rotator cuff problems along with compression syndrome.
Andrew Madak, 63, of Rochester, ran with his dog, Ginger, a 9 year old Golden Doodle and registered therapy dog, much to the delight of other racers. Andrew hurt his ACL training for martial Arts. Running helped him recover because of the stretching and endurance required and the 20# weight loss that soon followed. Andrew also suffers from Reynaud’s syndrome and must run with hand warmers to beat the symptoms. Andrew ran with his friend, Amy Dickerson, 53. Andrew is more than well-qualified to tout the benefits of running. Andrew happens to be a DO, a Doctor of Osteopathy, specializing in natural medicine and holistic health. Andrew ought to know the value of regular exercise. Because of Andrew’s professional commitment to health, he is today’s “winner”. (As author of the article, I get to pick a “winner”). Andrew is not the fastest runner, but he is a “winner” in the race called “life”. Congratulations to race “winner”, Dr. Andrew Madak, DO.
Robert Crowe, 49, from Lake Orion, is a “winner”. Running literally saved his life. Rob was severely depressed until he started running. Today, Rob is medication-free and is directing his own running race. Info for Robert’s race can be found at this link http://www.runatuplandhills.org/
Kathleen Step, 61, is a Doctor of Nursing. Kathleen should know about good health. She teaches nurses. Kathleen says; “Running and exercise promote good health, decreased depression, less anxiety, and more social support because of mingling with friends”. Richard Bazzy, 63, from Northville, started running because he worked at a desk job and needed the exercise. Richard’s wife, Gail, 61, runs for happiness. Dave Martz, 65, of TC, runs to stay fit. Michelle Kendall-Williams, 52, of Milford, runs to spend time with her husband. Michelle has completed four Ironmans. Jack Johns, 45, of Mt Clemens runs because he wanted to start exercising. He spent two nights in a motel. Thank you, Jack. Zach Schaefer, 29, of Hastings, ran since he was a young child. Grace Wu, 38, of Saline, ran to recover from having two children. Since the birth of her children, Grace has completed 6 marathons. Carol Ewasuik, 65, from Sarnia, works for an Orthopedic physician. She runs to relieve stress without the use of medications. Gary Lee, 80 from TC, probably won his age group. He may have been the only runner in the age group. Gary is a former coach and basketball player at Central Michigan University. Gary suffered several knee operations from which he has fully recovered. Jason Dellarte, 38, of Grand Rapids, runs because he enjoys the outdoors.
Tom Henderson, 69, of Williamsburg, is another “winner”. Tom suffered a detached retina and cataract surgery in 2013. Tom has fully recovered. His wife, Kathleen, 61, walked the 5K. Kathleen had hip and knee replacements. Tom is well known in the local running community because he always ran with his beloved dog, Maddie, a 13½ year old black lab. Maddie passed away recently from cancer. Tom ran with Maddie in all the local races. We all miss Maddie. I know we miss her because my Bouvier and running partner for 14 years, Zoe’, recently passed away from foot cancer.
“Aggressively Average”, a group of ladies from the Ann Arbor area, were aggressively average in the Bigfoot. The group consists of Jane Nixon, 33, a UM grad, GO BLUE!, Laura Ayers, 33, Courtney Burk, 36, and Pam Preston, 36. The group had a ball, lots of fun, and kept their “Average” reputation.
Tony Dye and Jeff Pownell of Slabtown Burgers served 30 gallons of terrific hot soup to cold runners. Tony and Jeff were ably aided by able assistant, Jackson Pownell. I recall Tony when she was a toddler in the arms of her dad, Randy and Mom, Carol. Happy Planet Running, took care of the waste generated by the race. Last year, only 10% of the total waste was sent to the dump. Other waste was diverted. Every race and every event should use a zero waste concept. Over 30 races, last year, experienced zero waste with the aid of Happy Planet and the director, Jeff Jackson. If you are directing an event, contact Jeff at the website happyplanetrunning.com .Jeff’s motto: “Run a great race. Leave no trace.” Randy Step, 61, is the owner and director of Running Fit. Randy ran the 5K. Randy was a state and Midwest champion runner. He experienced double heart valve replacement. Randy has fully recovered. Jeff Gaft, is an example of the incredible support of race volunteers. Jeff helped mark the course. As a past Bigfoot race director and finisher in numerous ultra-marathons, Jeff’s expertise was invaluable.
Race director, Jen Teeples, invites you to next year’s Bigfoot. Count your big feet among the 1100 pounding feet. Enjoy better health and reduce your stress. Become a “winner”. Remember to ask your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons and holds one marathon world record with his sons, Zack and Adam. Mickey is the former director of the National Cherry Festival Runs. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. Today, Mickey won his age group. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need tips on training, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com.