Saranac snowshoer to race in Austria

SARANAC While many in the North Country are hoping for an early spring, Matt Medeiros is not. The double gold medalist in the open men's snowshoe 1500m and 5k at the Empire State Games is setting his sights on the World Snowshoe Championships to be held April 1 in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria. Although Medeiros trained plenty hard to prepare for the Empire State Games, he said, "This is where the training really begins." The distance he will be racing at Worlds is 10 kilometers, twice the distance he raced this past Sunday. Medeiros plans on increasing the number of miles he trains in snowshoes to prepare for Austria. It won't be easy. Snowshoe running is exhausting. The main difference between running and snowshoe running is the power quotient. Snow shoe running requires more power and there are more muscles involved. Medeiros was already logging 50 to 60 miles a week, with one weekly long distance run on snowshoes. Medeiros is not a newcomer to snowshoe racing or running. He was inspired to run at a young age by his Dad, avid runner and Saranac cross-country and track coach, Jim Medeiros. It was Jim's participation in snowshoe racing, especially his world record combined snowshoe sprinting time in 1992, that had 6-year-old Matt dreaming of snowshoe racing one day himself. Medeiros ran track and cross country for six years while a student at Saranac, and competed in the Empire State games snowshoe races during some of those years. He has competed for two years in x-country and track at the collegiate level, first at Mohawk Valley Community College, and last year for Plattsburgh State. Matt is currently taking a year off from college and decided to do some snowshoe racing to keep up on his fitness. "Snow shoe running spices up my winter running a little bit. I can get off the road and onto the trails," said Matt. He was thinking of only competing in the1500meters and sprinting events, but at one of the qualifying races, Mark Elmore, Clinton County Youth Bureau Director, also known as The Snow Shoe Guy, convinced Matt to race in the 5k as well. He threw a carrot out in front of me, explained Matt, "by telling me that the overall male and female winner in the 5k Empire State Games would receive a grant for the World Snowshoe Championships." Although Matt was the gold medalist in the 5k open mens event, he was not actually the overall male winner. Two of the states top x-country highschool runners, Zack Rivers, this years class A state champion from Victor, and Christen Thompson, the class D state champion from Candor, finished first and second, with Matt crossing the line in third. Matt had to wait about an hour before it was announced that the first two finishers on the men's side could not commit to the trip to Austria, making the grant money available to him. The grant, known as the Eggleston Award, is in memory of Rich Eggleston, a passionate New York snowshoe racer who passed away around this time last year. The grant will cover about $500 of Matts travel expenses, which will only be about half of his airfare. Matt will gratefully accept any donations to help cover the rest of those expenses. He can be reached by calling 293-8540, or writing to: Matt Medeiros, 128 Ganong Dr. Saranac, NY. 12981.

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