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Chilkat Challenge Triathlon returns

Registration now open for the July 2 event in Haines, Alaska
A racer is greeted by her family along the race path during a previous Chilkat Challenge Triathlon in Haines, Alaska. (Courtesy/Chilkat Challenge Triathlon) A racer is greeted by her family along the race path during a previous Chilkat Challenge Triathlon in Haines, Alaska. (Courtesy/Chilkat Challenge Triathlon)

The Chilkat Challenge Triathlon is making a return after a three-year absence with registration now open.

The 2023 event will take place in Haines, Alaska on July 2.

The Chilkat Challenge is a 40-mile paddle/cycle/run along Southeast Alaska’s Chilkat River, through the heart of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.

Race marshall Gershon Cohen said organizers are excited to host the race again after a three year break due to COVID-19.

“The race is all about celebrating this incredible place that we live in,” Cohen said.

About half of the racers in the triathlon are typically from Whitehorse. The other half is split between Haines and Juneau, Alaska.

“We are expanding our outreach this year and hope to have more competitors from Anchorage and other communities in Alaska,” Cohen said.

“The race is capped at 100 racers who can enter as individuals or in teams of two or three.”

Some new changes have been introduced to the race.

The paddle and cycle legs will be the same, but the run will be 10 kilometres, starting and finishing at the Parade Grounds in Haines, eliminating the dusty, gravel finish that was previously at Chilkat State Park.

The one-paddle/two-paddle distinction for the team category will be eliminated. All teams (with a maximum of three members) will compete in the same category.

The kayak/canoe portion of the race will be the same as in previous years. Cohen said they are hoping to see someone take on the river on a stand-up paddle board this time.

The race will begin at 9 a.m. (Alaska Standard Time) at Mosquito Lake State Park, 30 miles north of Haines.

Racers will paddle across Mosquito Lake, through the “slough” and down the Chilkat River past the Tlingit Village of Klukwan to the takeout at about 33 kilometres. After a more than 14 kilometre paddle, racers will then swap their boats for bikes and cycle more than 35 kilometres down the Haines Highway to the Fort Seward Parade Grounds in downtown Haines.

The race ends with the 10-kilometre out-and-back run to the finish line at the Parade Grounds.

Cohen said participants will see some interesting things during the race because it’s “certainly one of the most incredible settings for a race anywhere.

“Aside from the river and mountains all along the way, you would have to try pretty hard to not see eagles, and there are plenty of moose and bears in the area. That’s one of the reasons we have so many volunteers all along the course.”

Cohen said officials are working with police and 45 volunteers on the race.

Participants can expect to go home with some exciting prizes, Cohen said.

“Sponsorship for the race has always been phenomenal for the size of the race. Patagonia, REI, Alaska Nugget Outfitters, Cycle Alaska and several other athletic gear companies are incredibly generous with donations of clothing and equipment,” he said.

“Every racer also gets a pass for a great dinner at the awards ceremony, a beer from our local brewery and a T-shirt.”

The first Chilkat Challenge Triathlon was held in 2017.

Contact Patrick Egwu at

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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