Marathon Madness-Craftsbury Marathons and the Boulder Mountain Tour Recap

Posted by Annika Landis on Feb 12th 2023

Marathon Madness-Craftsbury Marathons and the Boulder Mountain Tour Recap

Hello Ski Post - In my last article I mentioned that I was going to race a college carnival and three marathons in the span of about a week. Here is the recap on how that went, focusing mainly on the three marathons!

First up was the 37.5 km classic race, day one of a two-day event at the Craftsbury Marathon. Even though Vermont got a good amount of snow the week before, the races were shortened (50 km to 37.5, and 25 km to 18.5), which worked out well for me! Both races took place on an 18.5 km loop, which was a nice change of pace from the standard 5km laps. In the classic race, I had the privilege to ski with former GRP athletes Caitlin Patterson and Ida Sargent and together we worked through some pretty tough conditions, stopping every couple kilometers to scrap sticky snow off of our skis. Caitlin pulled ahead in the last couple kilometers to claim the win, and I was able to ski to a comfortable second place.

As tired as I was from muscling my way through the tough conditions, I had a second race to prepare for. Sunday conditions were much improved, my teammate Michaela and I led the race out casually, but with intent, and by the top of the first major climb, it was just the two of us. The last two kilometers were all out and I was just barely able to hold off Michaela’s strong finish. In addition to the two podiums, I also ended up winning the Broadhead Challenge, which is awarded to the athlete with the lowest combined time from both events. I was really excited with how my body handled three days of racing in a row and that I was able to push hard through some fatigue.

(Feeling wiped after racing three days in a row (60 km total), ending with a tough all out finish to clinch the win in the skate race at the Craftsbury Marathon. Photo by John Lazenby).

(GRP teammate Michaela and I are all smiles after a sprint finish at the end of the Skate 18.5 k race. Photo by John Lazenby).

After the Craftsbury Marathon, I flew home to Hailey, Idaho to recharge a bit and to race the iconic Boulder Mountain Tour. The race starts at Galena Lodge at 7200 ft, and drops significantly over the course of 34 km. The net downhill profile makes the race really different from what most people typically race because it is quite hard to make any significant breaks in the field. It also includes two sprint preems. I was hesitant at first to challenge the preems, having seen people go for them in the Birkie and then get dropped. But the course was favorable and I decided to go for it and ended up winning one of the two.

The defining feature of the BMT is that the race usually is decided in the last 100m, often between a decent sized group of racers. It is not uncommon for five or more skiers to be sprinting for the win. This year, there were four women sprinting for the line; Erika Flower, Hannah Rudd, Mariah Bredal, and myself. We had skied away from the rest of the women about 10k into the race, and as the kilometers ticked by, the tension started to build. We all knew what was coming - three podium spots, and four women racing for them.

The move we were all waiting for happened at about 500m when Hannah surged to the front with a decisiveness that left the rest of us racing for second and third. I skied with everything I had, trying desperately not to fall, and hoping that luck would be on my side. When all was said and done, it took the race organizers 20 minutes to decide the podium from the photo finish.

(Sprint Finish! Photo courtesy of Nils Ribi and Derek Svennungsen).(The podium ceremony).

(The podium ceremony).

The “almost” of being so close to the win stings. I am competitive so how could it not? I know tactically I could have been smarter, (especially at the end where I ended up leading the last 6k), but it's also hard to say that doing things differently would have drastically changed the one second gap between first and fourth. Just being in the position to sprint for the win was exciting to me and I feel very grateful to the three BSF women who pushed me all the way to the line.

(Hannah Rudd and I at the finish of the Boulder Mountain Tour in Ketchum, Idaho).

All three marathons reminded me of what I can learn, or re-learn from competitors at citizen races. Win or lose, I am always blown away by the energy that races like these excites in the community and racing at home is always so meaningful to me. The best part about all of these races is how the community comes together to make them happen. The volunteers are absolutely the heroes of race weekends and I am forever grateful to every one of them for the buoyant energy they bring to the hard work they do. It reminds me of where I came from and immerses me fully in the environment that made me love skiing in the first place. That is more priceless to me than any win.

(Couldn’t have asked for better weather on race day!).