Saturday, March 19, 2016 • Pittsfield, VT • Course Map
With a course that takes participants through the snowy mountain terrain of western Vermont, the Peak Snowshoe Marathon, Half Marathon and 6-Mile Race stands out for the difficulty of the conditions and the terrain, as well as the sheer uniqueness of the event.
Billed by race organizers as one of New England’s toughest marathon and half marathon courses, the Pittsfield Snowshoe race was run for the first time ever in 2007 and welcomed 84 participants who bundled up and strapped snowshoes to their feet for a course made up of snowmobile trails and backcountry roads. At the race’s 2014 running, more than 300 runners crossed the finish line in all races combined.
The opening portion of the race presents a daunting challenge, a 200-yard dash through three feet of pure, unbroken snow, followed by 13 miles of trails that climb more than 2,000 feet in elevation on the way toward the peak of South Mountain, the race’s high point.
For the full marathon, the course remains open for 10 hours – which is clearly a necessity when you realize that only 16 of the inaugural race’s 84 participants continued on after the half-way point to finish the full marathon.
The course for the race – which starts at 8:00 AM is a double 6.55-mile loop for the half-marathon (and four loops for the full). Prize money is also offered — in past years, the purse has been as much as $1,200 to the winner of the full marathon (though no prize money for the half).
There’s also a 100-mile race — which saw 10 people finish it last year — that starts on Friday morning at 5:00 AM and goes until the following day. Runners in this race will have 34 hours to finish.
Race Weather & Climate
The town of Pittsfield, a small town of just under 500 residents, is part of a popular winter vacation area for skiing and snowmobile enthusiasts. As could be expected, average March temperatures in the area are still quite cold, ranging from 17°F to 41°F.
Snow is usually on the ground and frequent this time of year, as the town sees an average of over 3.5 inches of rain during the month (and more than 15 inches of snow). On the day of the race (March 19), the average low is 13°F and the average high is 38°F.
See race website
To reserve your spot in the late winter 2016 running of the Peak Snowshoe Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K or 100-Mile race, register online at the event website here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Peak Snowshoe Race? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments box below.