According to Tom Ullyett, the fifth-place finisher in Saturday’s Haeckel Hill Run, “Nobody really enjoys doing it.”
The 19th annual race was less enjoyable than most.
Thirty-five runners and walkers took off from the start line under partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures. By the time they reached the finish – after running 6.4 kilometres and 584 metres in elevation – the weather was like something from the Donner Pass.
It was downright cold, wet and windy. Pebbles of hail felt like BB gun pellets.
“That was a grind. That was really tough,” said David Eikelboom. “I’ve run this hill a few times before – never in the race – and I remember it being hard, but I don’t remember it being this hard. That was tough.
“We had a big headwind too, so every other switchback there was a big wind right in your face, which didn’t help.”
Eikelboom, who is president of Athletics Yukon, was the first to the top. The 28-year-old finished in 35 minutes and 17 seconds, beating second place’s Dominic Bradford by almost two minutes.
“The fastest races are in low temperatures, so the temperature was good to be running, it’s just awfully cold when you stop,” said Eikelboom, a past Yukon cross-country champ and River Trail Marathon winner. “I’ll definitely need to get warm after this.”
Whitehorse’s Amelia Fraser outpaced defending champ Janet Clarke to take first for women. Fraser, 30, finished in 44:36, almost seven and a half minutes faster than when she first did the race in 2012.
“It’s a tough run. You just have to find a steady pace and hold on to it,” said Fraser. “If you go out too fast, you’re just going to blow up halfway through.”
“Awe man, that last corner there, it was just the wind and the rain. It was hard,” she added.
A pair of youngsters raced through the chill to place top-five on Saturday. Eleven-year-old Sammy Mather finished in 38:18 for third and 15-year-old Darby McIntyre clocked 39:42 to claim fourth.
“It was good, but tiring, and for today it was quite brutal, especially at the top,” said McIntyre.
Mather also placed third last year and second in 2013 while still just nine.
McIntyre, who was in the race for his first time, is preparing to represent Canada in track and field at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, Calif. He will be just the second Yukoner to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games. The first was Tyler Repka at the 1983 Games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Eikelboom and Fraser recently set personal half-marathon records at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, with the former at 1:13:42 and the latter at 1:28:42, but they didn’t set Haeckel Hill records.
Eikelboom was 1:53 off Colin Abbott’s record run in 2012 and Fraser was 3:18 off Denise McHale’s 2011 record for women.
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1st Dave Eikelboom – 35:17
2nd Dominic Bradford – 37:14
3rd Sammy Mather – 38:18
4th Darby McIntyre – 39:42
5th Tom Ullyett – 41:47
6th Jason Mackey – 41:49
7th Chris Cann – 41:53
8th Jerome McIntyre – 42:36
9th Boris Hoefs – 43:08
10th Tedd Tucker – 44:42
11th Sandro Holzinger – 45:38
12th Ben Yu Schott – 46:21
13th Michael Buurman – 47:07
14th Rick Brown – 48:31
15th Clarke LaPrairie – 53:43
16th Todd Pilgrim – 57:30
17th John Storms (walker) – 59:21
18th Darren Holcombe (walker) – 66:50
1st Amelia Fraser – 44:36
2nd Janet Clarke – 47:48
3rd Sarah Johnson – 47:56
4th Nathalie Dugas – 49:14
5th Cheryl Klippert – 55:26
6th Angela Sabo – 55:39
7th Brianne Bremner – 55:49
8th Valerie Girard – 56:23
9th Donna Jones – 57:17
10th Bailey Staffen – 57:45
11th Bonnie Love (walker) – 62:36
12th Tracey Taylor – 64:07
13th Audrey Meyer – 64:07
14th Lara Melnyk (walker) – 66:50
15th Jane Haydock (untimed)
16th Glenys Baltimore (untimed)
17th Victoria Parker (untimed)