Craftsbury Outdoor Center is becoming a regular fixture on my racing calendar - last year I raced the NENSA cup in December and the Craftsbury marathon 25k in January. Those events were definitely highlights, so I decided to repeat this season. This yearís NENSA cup races were even more successful than last year, with improved snow conditions and better results. And I was in luck for the Craftsbury Marathon too . . .
Craftsbury features terrific race courses, an amazing venue, beautiful scenery, and the ability to put on a quality event in any kind of snow condition (thanks to snowmaking and excellent grooming). †The Outdoor Center has many perks, including a spacious gym, perfect wax rooms, and a top notch kitchen that produces wholesome and delicious meals for guests. †
Part of Friday nightís menu
The 2017 Craftsbury marathon conditions were amazing . . . with plenty of fresh snow overnight leading into race morning! I raced the 25 km event, on a 12.5 km loop with stunning views of snow covered trees and perfect tracks (it was so nice I went back during†a†cool down to take pictures!).
Cheering on 50k skiers
I had a good 25km race. I went out fast and got away with Craftsbury Green team skier Kaitlynn Miller (it took me awhile to realize that she was skiing the 12.5 km event, but despite the quick pace it was nice to chase such a good skier).
The race featured a womenís only start (great!), which left 5 minutes behind all of the men: this made for a pretty congested course and tricky to pass people (last yearís 10-minute gap worked out better). So I made it a race goal to work on changing tracks smoothly and weasel my way around the men without disturbing their race. I ended up 1st in the event (ahead of Amy Caldwell and JoAnn Hanowski), winning beautiful hand-sculpted measuring spoons!
Just After Womenís Start
The popular event attracts a wide range of athletes. I met a large group of almost 80-year-olds who have been reuniting for many years on marathon weekend to race and stay at Craftsbury. †And in the menís 50k event 4 x Olympian Kris Freeman double poled and crossed the finish line 1st, ahead of Tad Elliot (on grip wax), who will be competing at the World Championships in Lahti.
We stayed an extra day after the race for more great food and skiing!
More pictures from NENSA here.