Thursday April 17th 2014
Winter Guide


By: Shannon Bryan

Snowman Adventure Race

Sat, Feb 9 |

File photo

The Eastern Prom boasts some of the best sledding in town. All the area third graders know it.

Of course, being a mature and respectable adult, you swapped the sled for skis years ago, trading local hills for higher altitude. Snow tubes were deflated. Toboggans were put out to pasture.

Because that’s what adults do.

Adults surely don’t show up on the Eastern Prom on snowy Sunday mornings and, in a fit of nostalgia, “borrow” a neighborhood kid’s Deluxe Polar Flyer when he pauses to adjust his mittens. Or they shouldn’t anyway, according to local law enforcement.

The Snowman Adventure Race offers grownups the opportunity to sail head-long (or feet first, if you prefer) down the East End hill just like they did when they were young. Maybe even set a new high-speed personal record.

The Snowman Adventure Race is a two-person relay combining running, biking and downhill sledding. One teammate heads out first for a half-mile bike ride around Back Cove, the second takes on a 2.25-mile run around the East End. Each leg of the race is begun with a hearty run up the East End hill and a return sled down. And both teammates sled together to the finish.

In a nutshell: this ain’t no Beach to Beacon.

The race is timed, but it’s a far cry from the intense road races that spill onto the streets every summer.

Competitive spirit lives, but it’s also a lively way to “stick it” to Old Man Winter at a time of year when snow and chill have taken their frigid toll on our emotional state. That dispiriting mid-winter slump is exactly what race director Patrick Hackleman was hoping to dispel when he came up with the idea five years ago.

And nothing gets Mainers out and about quite like sprinting up India Street in a mullet wig or angel’s wings. Perhaps both. See, the costume portion of the Snowman Adventure is equally as important as a team’s finishing time. Maybe more so. It’s questionable whether any of your fellow racers will remember that you missed first place by 43 seconds. But you know what they will remember? Face paint. Animal print. Fat suits.

The creativity on race day is impressive. There’s even a Best Costume award given out during the post-race awards ceremony. Of course there’s an award for the winning team. But self-described non-athletes can still aim high with the Spirit Award or Best Team Name award.

For what you lack in athletic prowess you can make up for in witticism and easy puns: “Better Off Sled” or “Victorious Secret” or “Over Forty and Still Naughty.” And while teams of all levels are welcome and encouraged, there are a few ground rules. Helmets are required for the bike rider and the bike must have “knobby” tires.

Old-fashioned hillside fun doesn’t mean you chuck safety out the window. Besides, you want to keep that noggin in good shape for the post-race festivities.

The Snowman Adventure is still a relatively new local race, but participation has been snowballing since it’s inaugural run in 2008. Pun intended!

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