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Mrs. McCormick's Ice House

January 20, 2024

Race Details

Mrs. McCormick's Ice House is a new winter race on the trails of Ontario County Park on January 20, 2024. The distance will be around 7 miles - but subject to change due to trail and weather conditions.

 

Price: $30 registration fee. No price increases.

 

Withdrawals: We will provide withdrawal refunds at any time before Friday, January 12 at 11:59 PM ET. Refunds will only be for the race entrance fee and will not include the UltraSignup administration fee.

 

Deferrals: We will provide registration deferrals at any time before Friday, January 19 at 11:59 PM ET. Deferrals will only be valid for entry to next year's event.

Common Ground Winter Trail Series

Mrs. McCormick's Ice House is the first race in the Common Ground Winter Trail Series, a collaboration between Farfetched Enterprises and Goose Adventure Racing. The goal of the series is bringing together the trail running community to get out on the trails over the winter and enjoy each other's company. Plans are to grow the series over time through additional independent events, but for this inaugural year, the series contains the following events:

 

Those who register for both events will receive a discount and some special swag.

Location, Parking & Schedule

Race HQ is at Wilson Lodge in Ontario County Park at Gannett Hill. Parking will be available next to Wilson Lodge. Please do not park on the race course or on the main park road. Please do not park in the small lots by the jump off, as these are reserved for other visitors to the park. Note that the main park road is one-way, counter-clockwise, so be careful when leaving the park.

8:00 AM - Check-in and same day registration opens at Wilson Lodge.

8:50 AM - Check-in and same day registration closes. Athlete meeting starts.

9:00 AM - Start of race.

Post-race bunch 

Course

Similar to other highly regarded OCP-based races, the proposed course starts at the Watkins Lodge and heads towards the pond. Once by the pond, the course will turn left across the field, cross the road and find an unblazed trail that will lead to the green trail. Follow green trail to the jump-off, for spectacular winter views of the hollow below. Enjoy it while you can, because we then head down to the depths of the black trail. Coming off of the black trail, the course takes a sharp right turn out onto the brown trail, but returning on the yellow trail to take in some of my favorite sections of trail. After popping out of the trails, head across the open field to the warmth of Watkins lodge.

Course Map

Course Setter Map

Post Race Meal & Awards

After the race we strongly encourage everyone to hang around, warm up, and catch up! Some features of our post-race include:

  • Real restrooms suitable for changing

  • Heated lodge with a fireplace

  • Buckwheat pancakes with local maple syrup, peanut butter, and hazelnut spread

  • Hot chocolate and chai (with a Skratch Recovery option)

  • Skratch Hydration and water

  • A variety of snacks

  • Awards!

Who is Mrs. McCormick?

Born August 1, 1825 in Middlebury, Vermont, Nancy McAdam McCormick lived an eventful life - mostly in the Canandaigua and Rochester area. On July 9, 1868 she found herself in the unenviable position of petitioning the court for ownership of her home and her late husband's ice harvesting business. He had died earlier that year with a full house, but without a will. Since marrying at the age of 14, Nancy had given birth to 12 children and was pregnant with her 13th. She needed to find a way to support her family. After succeeding with her petition, Mrs. McCormick took control of the McCormick's Ice House, and is credited with becoming the first business woman in Canandaigua.

 

The McCormick's Ice House was a large warehouse located in what is now the Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park. Each winter, teams of ice harvesters would cut huge slabs of ice from the lake and float them to the warehouse. Mrs. McCormick often joined in the ice harvest if short on labor during the limited window when the ice on Canandaigua Lake was of the optimal thickness. Up to 10,000 tons of ice would be stored in the Ice House during a single winter. Once weather turned warm, McCormick's Ice House would supply households and many local businesses, notably McKechnie's Brewery and the Hotel Canandaigua.

Over the next 33 years Mrs. McCormick oversaw the Ice House and leveraged her standing in the community and proximity to the pier into other business ventures. Notably, she was selected to be the pier-mistress, which allowed her to collect various tolls associated with activity on the pier and manage boat rentals. Her son John was the long-time captain of the steamship Ontario, which would regularly make the run between Canandaigua and Naples.

Some sources describe various business ventures providing concessions to crew and passengers of the ships - and possibly setting up a barge in the middle of the lake where she could sell strong beverages beyond the growing strength of the temperance movement. There are no apparent records of Mrs. McCormick's love of trail running. However, it is my hope that our little trail race can be steeped in the knowledge that the winters in the Bristol Hills may be cold and dark, but there is also opportunity there for those willing to look.
 

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