It has become an annual tradition for a select few on the XC Ski to travel to Canada to participate in the Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM). I chose "participate" because it is not an event where you try to complete it as fast as possible. They do not even record the time. Rather, it is an event in which you push yourself to your personal distance limit. Even that is dependent on the individual, for some purely enjoy the recreation of XC skiing and the friendly atmosphere.
Covering more than 100miles (185km), the race is broken down into five sections a day of varying distance. You can start and stop where ever you desire, with great shuttle services provided to and from sections. Each section begins and ends with a check point with plenty of sustenance for refueling over the many miles. Volunteers are always cheery and happy to serve even the hungriest of participants.
Dublin School sent a total of five students and two adults to a small town called Montebello, QC, located halfway between Ottawa, ON and Montreal, QC. Tim Cromwell ’11, Erika Hill ’11, Doug Gibson ’12, Tucker Wheeler ’12, Mark Porter ’14, Holly Macy and I packed into the Yukon Friday afternoon. We were able to reach Montebello around 8pm, after stopping for the local's favorite, poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curb, very healthy!). We settled into our dorm-style accommodations, prepared our skis and headed to bed, ready for an early wakeup call at 6am.
The next morning we started a little slowly and I will admit that I was nervous to make the shuttle to the first check point. Tim, Doug and Tucker had high aspirations of completing every section. We skied together for the first section and then alone on the second section. It is safe to say that two sections, a total of 40km, was further than any student had ever gone before. Erika and Mark started further up at check point four to ski the last two sections. Erika, once again, suffered brutal blisters on both heels. We all met up at the dorm to eat and then to bed. Ski, eat, sleep. Simple as that.
Waking up again at 6am on Sunday morning was tough, but we managed. Bodies were a little sore but spirits were high. We started again at the first check point for the day (different from the previous day) in hopes of achieving the greatest distance. Each individual pushed themselves to complete one or two sections. Erika, a four year participant of the Canadian Ski Marathon, had hopes of completing two sections but her wounds from the previous day made that very difficult. She reluctantly finished only one section. Give her a round of applause for a valiant effort!
This was a tremendous undertaking by all students who came on this journey, and we are all very proud of their fortitude and hard work! -Ms. Marlijne Cook