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Frozen Foote runners beat the weather in Saturday’s race

Frozen Foote runners beat the weather in Saturday’s race

CANTON — Ice, snow and sub-zero wind-chill were no match for the dedication of 52 runners and walkers who signed on for Saturday’s race in the 40th annual Frozen Foote series.Canton was covered in white and visibility was beginning to return following a winter storm watch at 10:30 a.m. Saturday as runners made their way out of the lobby of Appleton Arena, adorned in brightly colored coats, running tights, hoodies, ski masks and, in some cases, what would soon become icicle-laden beards. Before he made his way out to the starting line, Christopher James Preston, 32, Canton, who has been running in the event for about 17 years, said he ran the 0.62 miles to Appleton. “This lives up to the name, Frozen Foote,” Mr. Preston said. “It is a great race any weather, but specifically this is what it is made for. I run most every day. This is my favorite conditions to run in and train in. I think I just like going out by myself, in the cold. You really get something out of it. , You feel more alive, more relevant, more appreciative.” John T. Casserly, 72, Canton, one of the three event organizers and former running coach at Canton High School, stood next to the pillions and the hand-sewn, red and white flag finish line, keeping time for the runners in the four-mile race. The race is simple, he said, and the extreme weather was something that this group was acclimated to, though Saturday’s turnout could be listed as one of the lowest. During the race on Dec. 7, 197 runners registered to participate.“I think people just like to do things different … People get all kinds of different rewards from this kind of business, whether you work outside, you do stuff that is above the normal. People like that,” Mr. Casserly said. “If you like the winters here, then you take it all. It is all what you are acclimated to.”While his running days ended long ago, Mr. Casserly said, he is still part of the running scene because of the support and camaraderie that comes with it.With shingles of ice clinging to his cheeks, Jeffery A. Jones, Watertown, crossed the finish line wearing a smile that defied the bitter cold.“I’m originally from Canton and I come up here every weekend. I ran with Coach Casserly in high school, so it is kind of fun to get out here and have a little extreme event,” Mr. Jones said. “This is the north country at its finest, really, if you think about it. It is brutal conditions out here. Most people are going to cancel a race in these conditions but it’s a good time, coming out and seeing the running community and have stories to tell, like, “man, I did this four mile race and it was six degrees and blowing 20 below.’”Every step in Saturday’s conditions is a challenge, Mr. Jones said, because there is the constant risk of slipping and sliding.“But honestly, the community is the biggest part about coming out,” Mr. Jones said. “You got some of these guys that have been doing it for 15, 20 years, too, like Dan Dominie and them guys.”And as Mr. Jones mentioned his name, 58-year-old Dan L. Dominie, Canton, crossed the finish line. Since the inception of race 40 years ago, Mr. Dominie said, he has been participating in it. The only winter he wasn’t a Frozen Foote runner was during the ice storm of 1998, the only year the race was canceled. “This has been community for me for the 40 years that it has been around. I have now seen third generations come into the Frozen Foote Race, so it is pretty interesting,” Mr. Dominie said. “Frozen Foote itself has been one of those wintertime pluses for us up here in the north country because we don’t have a lot of races like you will in the summer, spring and fall, so you take advantage of what you got. There is always a great community support. We have a great time out here.”He said his frozen beard was an added bonus, as he stood at the finish line cheering for fellow runners who completed the timed race. The support was apparent as many of the 52 runners and walkers who signed on to participate Saturday morning hung around the finish line, patting each other on the back and high-fiving each other. Others waited in the lobby of the Appleton as they thawed out from the wind and snow. “Many years ago, this was regular every race series,” Mr. Dominie said of the cold, wintry weather. “We have seen some pretty cold temperatures, far below zero, wind chills, ice storms, snowstorms — you name it, we’ve run in it.”But in comparison to Friday’s almost 60 degree weather?“Yesterday I was running in shorts; today I am running in two layers of tights.” Mr. Dominie said, laughing. Saturday’s was the second of four races throughout the winter. Each run has registration at 9:30 a.m. at Appleton Arena with racing starting at 10:30. Each race costs $2 or $5 for the entire series. The final two events will be Feb. 10 and March 10. For more information, contact Suna Stone at 229-5105 or
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Frozen Foote runners beat the weather in Saturday’s race

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