Abbott navigates way to first place

Yukon orienteers obviously love a good challenge. With very little variation, orienteers pored past the final control station spouting remarks about how much they enjoyed the courses for their difficulty at the Yukon Championship middle-distance event, held at Mount McIntyre on Wednesday.

Yukon orienteers obviously love a good challenge.

With very little variation, orienteers pored past the final control station spouting remarks about how much they enjoyed the courses for their difficulty at the Yukon Championship middle-distance event, held at Mount McIntyre on Wednesday.

“The middle (distance event) is usually done in the forest, like we’re doing tonight, and the emphasis is on technical orienteering,” said event organizer Ryan Kelly. “So the runner will need to use detailed navigation skills in order to find each control. Whereas the long (distance event) has more physical endurance involved.

“These courses are shorter, but they’re difficult.”

The event featured four courses, a novice (1.5-kilometre), an intermediate (2.7-kilometre), a short advanced (2.5-kilometre) and a long advanced (3.6-kilometre).

As usual, the novice course ran mostly on the trails while the intermediate and advanced course required more bushwhacking.

Taking first on the long advanced was national junior team member Colin Abbott with a time of 26 minutes and 54 seconds.

“It was really technical course; I mean, you use ski these trails all winter and you don’t realize how much stuff is there,” said Abbott. “There’s a lot of rock, a lot of cliffs, a lot of direction changes, so you have to be really quick on your feet.”

In orienteering, route-selection is paramount, but the shortest route was not always the fastest, said Abbott.

“It’s a really wet area, so a lot of depressions are really thick with willows and aspens,” he said. “It’s a lot more work to go through that than it is to run on the open pine ridges.

“So if you figured that out early in the race, it would make a big difference in your time.

“There’s always mistakes you can improve on in orienteering. I minimized my mistakes in pretty much every aspect of the race in terms of running, route choice or just doing the final approach to the control.

“It was one of my better races for sure, especially in such technical terrain.”

Abbott took second in last week’s Yukon Championships sprint for the long-advanced event, finishing 1:09 behind five-time national team member Brent Langbakk. On Wednesday, the result was flipped with Langbakk taking second with a time of 30:24. For the second week in a row, Abbott’s national teammate, Lee Hawkings, took third for the long-advanced course.

“He just ran faster,” said Langbakk, facetiously. “I had a couple rough areas; my navigation wasn’t as smooth as last week, but it’s a tricky area and you have to find the balance between running fast and being clean on the navigation, and I was not very clean on the navigation so that cost me. You have to find the controls right away or else that costs you a lot of time.”

As national team members, Abbott and Hawkings will represent Canada at the Junior World Orienteering Championship in Trentino, Italy, in early July.

The Yukon Championships will wrap-up with the completion of the long-distance event being held June 17 in the Miles Canyon area. More information can be found at


Long advanced (3.6 km)

1st Colin Abbott – 26:54

2nd Brent Langbakk – 30:24

3rd Lee Hawkings – 34:44

4th Forest Pearson – 36:14

5th Afan Jones – 43:07

Short advanced (2.5 km)

1st Grant Abbott – 43:38

2nd Phil Hoffman – 49:22

3rd Mike Gladish – 49:31

4th Sherri Cooper – 1:23:35

5th Hilary Wilkinson – 1:34:02

Intermediate (2.7 km)

1 Bray, Trevor M13-14 29:13

2 Hynes, Perry Open-2 33:02

3 Blake, Pia F13-14 33:58

4 Taylor, Tracy Open-2 41:35

5 Beatty, Craig Open-2 50:31

Novice (1.5 km)

1st Leif Blake – 13:49

2nd Sarah Murray – i18:02

3rd Bryn Hoffman – 19:22

4th Savannah Cash – 20:35

5th Heather Thomson – 21:30

Contact Tom Patrick at

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