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FROZEN FEET — Canton runners brave cold, snow in races’ 35th year

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CANTON — Maybe they should call it ‘Frozen Feet.’

Almost 100 runners, walkers, joggers and stumblers participated in the third leg of the Frozen Foote race series, braving 12 degree temperatures and a slick, snowy road surface to continue a 35-year tradition.

Typically, over 150 runners participate in the races, but Friday’s snow storm and the cold temperatures may have lowered attendance, said race organizer Peter D. Feickert.

“We have only postponed the race once, in the winter of 1998 after the ice storm,” he said. “We didn’t think it would be cool to run when all travel was cancelled.”

Mr. Feickert said the race is held rain, snow or shine.

“Cold, windy, snowy, you name it, it’s been here,” he said.

The event, named after Canton founder Stillman Foote, is a four mile road race from St. Lawrence University’s Appleton Arena, south down Miner Street and back.

Daniel L. Dominie, Canton, who has run every race, every year in the series’ history, said the cold and snow as part of the fun.

“The hardest part is usually getting up and coming out,” he said. “Obviously, people come out for the exercise, I come for the great individuals who come out here.”

Suna Stone-McMasters ran her 18th Frozen Foote.

“You see all shapes and sizes of people,” Ms. Stone-McMasters said. “All ages, people run with their children, their dogs.”

For many of the racers in Canton, it isn’t about finishing first, or even beating a personal best — it is about the camaraderie between fellow runners.

“There’s definitely a social aspect to the race,” said John T. Casserly, who kept vigil by the finish line, calling out times as racers crossed.

Since the runners compete on an open public street, they have to be aware of traffic and dangerous, slippery conditions.

“It is a very close knit group,” Mr. Dominie, the veteran racer, said. “Everybody looks out for each other.”

The series features four races on the second Saturday of December, January, February and March. If a runner participates in three of the four Frozen Foote races, they receive a T-shirt.

David S. Wurzburg, Black Lake, was running in his sixth Frozen Foote.

“If there’s snow on the roads like today, it is difficult getting traction,” he said. “I appreciate the fact they put on this race, there aren’t too many opportunities to race in Winter.”

Some of the local high school track teams were in attendance, pacing some of the more experienced runners.

After the race runners recorded their own times and cooled down — or warmed up, in this case — in the Appleton Arena lobby.

“There’s a tradition of ethics, we don’t monitor everything that is going on,” said Mr. Casserly. “We assume everybody pays, but the honors system not only goes for the money, but what they’re doing in the race. We figure Stillman Foote keeps an eye on the whole thing.”

In years past some racers would sometimes celebrate their frosty finish with a party.

“We used to have a group of 3-4 runners who came down from Ottawa, they had a tradition of tailgating after the race,” Mr. Casserly said.

Now, more serious runners keep going after crossing the finish, Ms. Stone-McMasters said.

“Everybody disperses in different directions,” she said. “Some get coffee, others go out and do more distance because their getting ready to run marathons in the spring. I’m always busy doing my extra mile.”

The final leg of the Frozen Foote series takes place March 9, runners can register at 9:30 that morning at the Appleton Arena.

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