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FEATURE: Brandy Erholtz, Renowned Mountain Trail Runner, Competes as a Snowshoer

February 15, 2013

Brandy Erholtz, one of the top USA female snowshoe competitors, began snowshoeing as an adult. Her records around the country stand uncontested.

2011 Snowshoe NationalsBrandy Erholtz, one of the top USA female snowshoe competitors, began snowshoeing as an adult. Her records around the country stand uncontested.

“You’d think I’d been snowshoeing since infancy; however, this wasn’t the case.”

– Brandy Erholtz

Brandy Erholtz grew up figure skating in International Falls, Minn. She started in first grade and skated all the way through school. When she was 12 years old and in the 7th grade, Erholtz started running cross country and track; but in International Falls, snow sports are just part of the atmosphere. After she got married and moved to Duluth, Erholtz bought her first pair of snowshoes.

“My husband and dogs and I would hike around the trails in Duluth any time there was fresh powder. At that point, the thought of racing on snowshoes had never crossed my mind. We moved to Colorado in 2006, and I was still only a snowshoe hiker,” she said.

But after a couple of years in the outdoor environs of Colorado’s mountains and trails, Erholtz began competing in mountain running races. In 2008, she qualified for her first U.S. Mountain Running team in what was an “uphill year.” (Mountain running alternates even/odd years: uphill-only on even years, up/down courses on odd years.)

“I had a blast representing the U.S. in Switzerland, and as soon as I finished the race set my goal to make the 2009 team. With 2009 being an up/down year, I knew I was going to have to work on my downhill running. I had met a few other trail/mountain runners who did a little snowshoe racing in the off season, so I decided to give it a go. Falling in the snow couldn’t hurt nearly as badly, and could potentially help me learn to run fast and stay relaxed on the downhill,” she said.

In the winter of 2009, Erholtz competed in only three snowshoe races, but learned of its value.  While she got lost in two of the races, she surprised herself by winning the National Championships in Mt. Hood. During her running season that summer, she went on to qualify for her 2nd U.S. Mountain Running team. Erholtz attributed her success to the snowshoe racing: it was a good way to stay competitive in the winter, get a good workout and continue working on her downhill running.

NB_7_1_2011_51“I really love how snowshoeing prepared me for my running season. I’ve been on the Atlas Snowshoe Team the past three-plus years,” Erholtz said.

On Training

When it comes to training, Erholtz has been faithfully working with coach Gary Lepisto since the spring of 2005. Lepisto, who is from Duluth, is a trained Lydiard coach (see box).

“He has really helped me develop as a runner and reach a level I never dreamed was possible. We break my training into phases, using the Lydiard system as a guide. The past 5 years, my two primary goals each year have been first to make the mountain team and represent the U.S. at Worlds, the second being to peak at Worlds. Each winter I build a huge aerobic base through long steady-state runs, and eventually incorporate tempo, speed, hills and tune-up races,” Erholtz said.

Erholtz does most of her running on the trails close to her home in Evergreen. Her favorite run this past year has been Bergen Peak.

“I love running uphill and exploring new places and new trails. I have a few training partners in town, but I tend to do a lot of my running by myself. I actually like the thinking and praying time it gives me. My dogs (Ches-E and Fischer) do quite a bit of my easy running with me as well. You can’t really ask for a more motivated training partner than one with a wagging tail, leash hanging out of its mouth,” she said.

Being a Brand Ambassador

Erholtz’s first pair of running shoes were New Balance, and she has been a loyal customer for the past 23 years.  Four years ago, she became a New Balance Outdoor Ambassador, and has been fortunate enough to have had many opportunities with them in regards to racing and overseas travels

“I absolutely LOVE their shoes,” she said. “I am also thankful to New Balance for the small travel stipend, and to race directors who give comp entries and who sometimes help with lodging and/or travel expenses. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and win a little prize money, which negates the expenses it took to get there.”

Aside from New Balance, Erholtz just started working with the clothing manufacturer Injinji, and loves their socks. “I was skeptical about toe socks and still think my feet look silly while wearing them; however, they have alleviated the rubbing between the toes I used to get and are the most comfortable socks I have ever worn. I’d tell people, Don’t judge them until you try them!” she said.

Erholtz is also sponsored by PowerBar and uses their products while training, for recovery and snacks – in particular the double latte and raspberry crème gels, cola energy blasts and the chocolate peanut butter caramel recovery bar.

Running and snowshoeing have been great complimentary sports for Erholtz.

“I truly love to run; getting outside each day energizes me. I love running up and down mountains and exploring new trails. I am a Christian, and my runs are a really spiritual time for me. I spend a lot of time praying during my runs and also praising God for His gifts. I am also a competitive person, so on the rare days when I struggle to find motivation, I think of my competition and what they might be doing.

BrandyErholtz-From USSSA WebsiteAbout Brandy

Erholtz and her husband have been married for 10 years. They have two dogs and four cats. Erholtz  has worked as a special education teacher for about 12 years for Jeffco Public Schools. She is now a Prevention Liaison and teaching two adjunct classes. Further, in the past couple of years, she has taken on a lot of extra work with curriculum writing and course development.  Erholtz is also an assistant cross-country coach at Evergreen High School.

Read more on Brandy at:





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One Response to FEATURE: Brandy Erholtz, Renowned Mountain Trail Runner, Competes as a Snowshoer

  1. Alethea Beien on April 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Brandy may be served neat or on the rocks (over ice cubes). It may be added to other beverages to make several popular cocktails; these include the Brandy Alexander, the Sidecar, the Brandy Daisy, and the Brandy Old Fashioned.,

    Latest posting straight from our own internet site

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