UPPER SALFORD >> People that are missing the snow this season can chill out at the 12th Annual Pennsylvania Snowshoe Race on Saturday morning.

This winter has been unusual in more ways than one especially considering the lack of snowfall this season. Around this time last year, surrounding areas received over a foot of snow but snow has been pretty minimal this year.

Saturday’s snowshoe race is similar to other running events except participants will attach specialized devices that resemble rackets to the bottom of their tennis shoes. The footwear is called snowshoes and helps runners navigate through icy and snowy conditions. Runners competing on Saturday will race through machine snow uphill at the Spring Mountain Ski Area.

“It’s going to be a good workout,” said race director Ed Myers. He added “It’s the only snow for about 300 mile.”

Because there is no real snow this year, the course will be a bit different than the past two years. When there’s actual snow, runners use a 5K course that begins on the ski slopes and continues through the woods. This year, the entire race will be on the slope mountain and participants will complete a 2.5 K loop twice.

The race used to be a qualifier for the national snowshoe competition but qualifiers are no longer necessary. Myers said runners just have to be a member of the U.S. Snowshoe Association. Participants of Saturday’s event can use the race as practice for nationals and even the world championships. For the first time, the United States will host the World Snowshoe Championships. The world competition will be held in New York on Feb. 24.

Registration for Saturday’s race begins at 7 a.m. and the race will start at 8 a.m. The cost to register is $30. Snowshoe rentals will be available for $10 but the supply is limited. For more information and to learn how to reserve a pair of snowshoes, visit the website www.springmountainadventures.com/snowshoe-race or email Myers at edmyers52@hotmail.com.

The Mercury is engaged in a long-term effort, Fit for Life, designed to promote healthy living. In addition to articles in the newspaper and on our website, Fit for Life features a blog with recipes, health tips such as getting fit without breaking the bank and other tools all available free online. Visit the website at pottsmercfit4life.wordpress.com, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter twitter.com/mercfit4life @MercFit4Life.

Michilea Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.

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