For the first time in the 20-year history of the U.S. Snowshoe Racing National Championships, three women from New Mexico swept the podium. Michelle Hummel and Amber Zimmerman of Albuquerque and Whitney Spivey of Los Alamos placed first, second, and third, respectively at the 2020 event, which was held at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado, on Feb. 29.
Hummel completed the hilly, high-altitude 10-kilometer event in 49 minutes, 21 seconds. Zimmerman was close behind, finishing in 51:30. Spivey placed third in 57:30. Of the 41 participants, nearly a quarter (10 women) were from New Mexico. They include:
1: Michelle Hummel, 00:49:21, age 36, Albuquerque
2: Amber Zimmerman, 00:51:30, age 28, Albuquerque
3: Whitney Spivey, 00:57:30, age 37, Los Alamos
9: Cassy Scallon, 01:02:46, age 38, Los Alamos
20: Kerrie Cottle, 01:17:43, age 45, Santa Fe
21: Heidi Byrd, 01:19:44, age 31, Las Cruces
24: Collette Haney, 01:20:50, age 55, Albuquerque
28: Lorena Devlyn, 01:27:54, age 48, Las Cruces
34: Lauri Dodge, 01:32:10, age 60, Bernalillo
39: Dara Parker, 01:48:25, age 43, Las Cruces
*ages are the age of the athlete on December 31, 2020
The top five finishers in the event earned spots on the U.S. National Snowshoe Racing Team, which means they will have the opportunity to compete in the 2021 World Championships in Argentina. The New Mexico contingent brings experience to this event: Hummel recently won the 2020 World Championships in Myoko, Japan. Spivey placed seventh at the 2016 World Championships in Vezza d’Oglio, Italy.
In the men’s 2020 national championship event, four of the 71 finishers were from New Mexico:
22: Shawn Martin, 00:51:33, age 47, Sandia Park
25: Mike Engelhardt, 00:53:30, age 50, Los Alamos
40: Greg Salveson, 01:00:29, age 34, Los Alamos
64: Dan Tallon, 01:20:03, age 66, Placitas
Santa Fean Abraham Kosgei also competed for Kenya in the international division. He placed second.
To qualify for the national championships, athletes had to compete in a snowshoe race earlier this winter. Popular qualifiers in New Mexico included the Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic, the Chama Chile Ski Classic, and the Sandia Mountain Snowshoe Race. Many of these qualifying races took place at a similar elevation to Leadville, which helped New Mexico athletes anticipate the challenge of running at 10,000-plus feet above sea level in the national championships.
Snowshoeing running is a rapidly growing sport in New Mexico. People interested in learning more about the sport can register for a clinic on March 7 through the University of New Mexico–Los Alamos. Register online at losalamos.unm.edu/community-education in the Outdoor Recreation section. National team member Whitney Spivey is the instructor.