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Hew Hamshire biathlon gets summer heat

Thu, Jun  12, 2008 - By Kevin Brooker (USBA)

Many thanks to Kevin Brooker for sending the following results from Saturday, June 7, 2008 summer biathlon competition in Holderness, NH to the US Biathlon Association...

Today the Pemigiwasette F&G Club held the first biathlon of the 2008 season. Temps were mid 50 in the morning quickly rising to mid 90s during the race. This was the hottest day in NH since August of last summer and quite a shock to everyone involved. The Match race format was a mass start with 5 laps of 800 meters each. The 10 point range was fantastic. Last year the Pemi club received an NRA grant to buy 10 of the Devin BT-200 practice targets. The targets were set up on top of purpose built stands and a Pemi designed back ground was placed behind the targets to help the athletes see the hits. The BT-200 is a over/under offhand/prone door target. A hit is signaled by the door flapping open and automatically reset. Spotters help the athlete record misses and spotting, while not expected of competitors, was a job traded around.

There were 11 participants. 4 in Match class and 7 in the Novice class. There were classes set-up for athletes 12 and under, 13-16, 17-21, 22-34, and 35+. In the novice class the participants were expected to be safe and have a fun and enjoyable introduction to biathlon. There is a walker class and lap lengths ranging from 300 meters to the full 800. Novice shoots prone at the offhand targets. Pemi has loaner rifles available. Novices can also receive coaching during the race and help on the range if they feel they need it. With 11 participants everyone pretty much won their class.

In the 12U class, two athletes (ages 4 and 7) shot off a rest with adult coaching. This was modeled after the kid races run by the Saratoga Biathlon Club. The 7 year old went clean twice and had three misses total. The 4 year old was all donuts but had a great time racing his sister around the P-loop they used for their lap. He wanted to know when the next race is. Out of the 11 participants 8 were first timers. Two of the athletes in Match class were experienced runners and shooters and this was the first time they tried biathlon. The winning time in Match class was 28:02 with 2, 4, 2, 2 shooting.

This club puts in a huge effort to support biathlon. They construct a range, P-loop, find volunteers (more helpers than athletes so far), supply water, rifles, ammo, coaching and a very safe and fun environment. This race is part of an 8 race series hosted between 2 clubs; Pemi and Harvard Sportsmans Club near Boston. Its an interclub league open to anyone. There are 9 races between the two clubs. Harvard just purchased 4 regulation resettable targets to put up when they host events. A big investment for organizations that promote biathlon as part of a summer shooting experience. The races are well run, safe and fun.