17 nations represented in Yukon Arctic Ultra

Four continents and 17 nations are represented in the "coldest and toughest" winter ultra this week. A total of 71 racers left the start line in the 13th annual Yukon Arctic Ultra on Thursday in Whitehorse's Shipyard's Park.

Four continents and 17 nations are represented in the “coldest and toughest” winter ultra this week.

A total of 71 racers left the start line in the 13th annual Yukon Arctic Ultra on Thursday in Whitehorse’s Shipyard’s Park.

In the field are 19 Whitehorse participants spread over the three race distances – marathon, 100-mile and the 300-mile all the way to Pelly Crossing.

“This is a record field of entrance for a year we don’t have the 400-mile (division to Dawson City),” said organizer Robert Pollhammer. “Every two years we have a race that goes all the way to Dawson, then we typically have 80 to 90 people. The other years we usually have less, so this is a really good turnout.”

Of the 19 Whitehorse racers, 14 entered the marathon, three the 100-mile, and just one – Jessie Thomson-Gladish – in the 300-mile division.

Thomson-Gladish completed the trek all the way to Dawson last year, placing fourth and was the top Canadian.

“There’s something special about the trail and to be honest, I got totally hooked on it last year,” she said. “Yukon is special to me. If it was somewhere else in the world, I might not do it twice, but since it’s here it’s an easy way to see a lot of terrain and meet some cool people.”

This year Thomson-Gladish, 30, is on a two-person team with England’s Julie Pritchard. They are The ‘J’ Team.

“We met last year on the trail and ended up finishing together,” said Thomson-Gladish. “We’ve been in contact together the whole year and decided to be a team for this year. So we’re going to be traveling together the whole way and camping together.”

Besides Canada and England, represented this year are Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Italy, U.S., France, Denmark, Poland, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Wales, and Guernsey, a small island nation located in the English Channel.

The field includes one cross-country skier, four on fat-tire mountain bikes and the rest – including all the Yukoners – on foot.

It was a warmer start than in recent years, with temperatures around minus-10 at the start line Thursday.

“It’s not so cold,” said Pollhammer. “Yes, we have problems with the trail maybe, a bit of overflow, but I’d rather have that than minus-40 when we start the race. It’s OK if we get that temperature later on, but if we get that right from the start it’s really hard on people.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Yukon could enter Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopening plan beginning of August, CMOH says

About 350 British Columbia residents have entered the Yukon since July 1 under new travel bubble

Recount confirms Charlie elected chief of Liard First Nation, Morgan threatens legal action

Recount held July 6 narrowed the margin between Stephen Charlie and George Morgan to just four votes

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, citizen both set to appeal residency requirement ruling

VGFN filed an application for an extension while Cindy Dickson filed a notice of appeal

Council contemplates a second public hearing on OCP change

A section of the tank farm would be changed for industrial/commercial use


Wyatt’s World for July 8, 2020

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in schedule byelection for chief

The byelection to select the next Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in chief will happen on… Continue reading

Carcross/Tagish First Nation election recount called off

Carcross/Tagish First Nation’s plans to hold a vote recount in a tight… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: COVID reopening

Letter to the editor published July 3

Vuntut Gwitchin councillor submits resignation

Vuntut Gwitchin councillor Cheryl Charlie has submitted her resignation, leaving Chief Dana… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Ancient lake bed sediments, unusual plants are markers of the Takhini salt flats

It’s one of the Yukon’s best open geological secrets, a well-known but… Continue reading

Yukon University hires director of finance

Yukon University announced in a press release on June 29 that Sheila… Continue reading

Most Read