My guest today has logged thousands of miles in his lifetime and also organized dozens of races in the past 30 years.
Our conversation today will venture into a topic we have never covered before today which is snowshoe racing.
I look forward to going a few easy miles with Bob Dion today.
Motivated By Competition
Bob Dion got into running in the late 1970s which was towards the end of the running boom.
A lot of his co-workers ran, so Bob figured he should try it as well.
Bob came from a gymnastics background and didn’t know much about running when he first began.
His lack of knowledge didn’t stop him from racing nearly every weekend.
Bob wasn’t aware of any trail races at the time.
The running scene at that time focused on road races.
A lot has changed from the time when Bob first entered the sport to today.
The Evolution Of Running
Bob has experienced a lot of changes in the sport he knows and loves.
People that signed up for races didn’t do so just for fun, unlike recreational athletes that are common at nearly all events today.
Clothing and shoes were minimal and knowledge about how to fuel didn’t exist.
When Bob did fuel during a race it was typically with iced tea and fig newtons.
Bob began racing with 10k’s and quickly progressed to ultra distances.
He knew that he was never going to be the fastest, but he could go far.
That notion inspired him to eventually put on a 50-mile race.
Bob didn’t have anyone coaching him but rather made up his training as he went.
His training included racing frequently with long runs that spanned 35-40 miles.
He was a high-mileage runner with his weekly mileage peaking at 190 miles.
Bob rarely ran 7 days a week, but he did often run 2-3 times per day.
He found that breaking up his mileage over multiple runs in a day made them better quality.
Running multiple times a day also forced Bob to be more disciplined with his health/nutrition choices throughout the day.
At the time when Bob was routinely running long runs that were over a 50k distance, he had never heard of an ultra marathon.
Once he was aware of the fact that there were races on trails that exceeded marathon distance he was hooked.
Bob lives at the base of Mount Greylock, which is the highest mountain in Western Massachusetts.
With very few trail races in the area at the time, Bob decided to help change that.
He started a 10-mile trail race that went up and down Mount Greylock.
The race was an immediate success with almost 200 participants the first year.
His race was one of the only trail races at the time that offered shirts for all participants as well as awards for the top finishers.
Over the years Bob has put on around 100 races with 4 to 5 that are still around today.
As a veteran race director (RD), Bob always appreciates anyone willing to volunteer for races.
The races Bob helps put on are smaller races where the money raised goes directly toward the local running club.
Bob was diagnosed with Lyme disease at the age of 60.
His diagnosis affected his ability to compete the way he always had.
Bob primarily enjoyed running and training for the end result which was pushing himself and competing.
Once he was unable to do that, he shifted his focus to a new endeavor.
Snowshoe racing is naturally a slower pace with less pounding on the body and an easier recovery.
In short, it was all the benefits of running without the negatives.
When Bob first began snowshoe racing 25 years ago, he found that the snowshoes were clunky and hard to race in.
His desire to have better snowshoes led him down a path he didn’t expect.
The Birth of NeviTREK
As Bob got into snowshoe racing, he found himself competing nearly every weekend.
He made his own snowshoes which were better than anything he was able to buy.
His success led him to create a business making small batches of various snowshoes.
Bob is heavily involved in the snowshoe community which benefits his business in a variety of ways.
He allows people to borrow his designs at races which also gives him instant feedback from potential customers.
His business NeviTrek has grown and evolved over the years.
Bob prefers to keep his business small and more personal so that he can offer the best quality products possible.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Stay connected with Bob Dion by following him on Facebook.
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