Snow is accumulating in the Blue Mountains with squalls coming in off of beautiful Georgian Bay. Race director Bob Miller is finalizing the race course and teams of two can expect steep climbs along with some tricky navigation up and down the Niagara Escarpment. Oh yeah and with all these snow squalls lets hope for lots of deep powder snow too.
Early bird deadline is December 19th and spots are filling up as this race is a many time Get Outdoor Magazine Reader's Choice winner for Top Snowshoe Race in eastern Canada. Check out the video from 2014.
So. Much. Snow. The squalls keep dumping snow on the Blue Mountain area and that has entries for the 11th annual Snowshoe Raid flying in. Over 80 teams registered already! With still just under 5 weeks to go until race day this very likely will be the biggest snowshoe raid to date (and could sell out). Early bird price deadline Monday Dec 19th at midnight!
Well, I am glad I won't be following Hermes like at the last stars O-cup orienteering race. (sorry Hermes)
Bash Canadian Running magazine says more women sign up for half-marathon distances and men more the marathon distance. This raid is closer to a half-marathon intensity and less than > equal to 3 hours, so hence more women feel comfortable doing it. Just my theory.
If that were the main reason, one would expect the Raid the Hammer Half Raid to attract more women than men as well, but it doesn't. (Although it's close to even - and you're correct that a smaller percentage of women enter the Full Raid.)
Compared to a half-marathon, there's the added element of navigation. There aren't as many female adventure race team navigators so one might expect *more* women to race the Half Raid the Hammer since its 3-person team format accommodates non-navigators better than the Snowshoe Raid with its 2-member teams.
So there's more to it but we aren't quite sure what it is! There has long been some special magic to the Snowshoe Raid. :) Participation of women increased until 2012 when it reached 50/50. Since then, the breakdown has been similar to what I noted above in the 2017 earlybird registrations.
In looking back at the old registration reports just now, I was reminded that a large group of Masters women attended in 2013, and they wrote afterward to ask us to divide our Masters category into Masters Female, Masters Male and Masters Coed. We did that, and these categories have become hugely popular. As a masters athlete, I can appreciate that since I often have to decide whether to enter my team into an event as Masters *or* Female/Coed. This feels more welcoming.
Of the 100 teams that registered for the Snowshoe Raid before the earlybird deadline, 42 are Masters teams. Back when we had equal male/female participation, the proportion of Masters racers was much lower. So I guess we need to thank those Masters women for their request in 2013!
Bash with those masters numbers up over the years we need to attract more 30-39 years old's for sure. My race counterpart on this one is her first 'adventure race', but she can run/trek with anyone for 3 hours. The other hidden surprise is the number of racers from Running Free; more than I expected at this point.
Agreed, we need more 30-39 year olds to ensure the Masters class stays this competitive for many years to come. ;)
But seriously... I also worry about how to attract younger people to events I work on. For sure, it's important to engage children and adults in their 20s and 30s if you want a sport to have a future. But the Snowshoe Raid proves that you can grow an event by attracting older participants too. (Not that Bob set out to do that on purpose, other than adjusting the categories.)
About one third of current SSR registrants are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Our oldest team so far is Mr. and Mrs. GHOSLO and they will finish solidly in the midpack. From a marketing perspective, most people in this demographic can afford the entry fee and don't need child care. Clearly, some people can do this type of event for 30-40+ years after their 40th birthday! So this demographic should be an attractive target market for certain types of races, contrary to the way we usually think about promoting adventure events.
Glad you made me dig into the databases, Havarti! Interesting to look harder at the numbers.
The problem is that the defining age for masters is too low. Last year the overall mens and womens winners were masters.
I suggest that the masters category be restricted to teams whose total age is greater than 150. This will solve a number of problems (including mine).
The old 'Super Masters' average age for DontGetLost's Raids had to be 55 or higher. I should point out that next year a team of Marks (Adams, Tarnopolsky, and Tamminga) not only would be a threat to win the Raid the Hammer overall but also in masters categoryand also in what used to be the SUPER masters category.
Hammer, I remember when you switched Masters from 40 to 45 because Masters kept winning Raids so you figured it wasn't high enough. Clearly, the Marks are the *real* problem and it looks like GHOSLO's suggestion may be a good one!
For my mountain bike nav event, Star Tracks, I added a 60+ age group and it seemed to bring people out of the woodwork. This year we had nearly equal representation in Open Male, Masters Male and Super Masters Male. If you build it, they will come!
You may have some very good connections who have that power! The concern is always prizing but I figure if one extra team signs up because they feel welcomed by a new category, we can use part of the profits to buy a small prize. Nobody does Raids because they care about which prize they're competing for.