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Co ed team wins W.A.R.

Sara Neilsen and Nathan Doering conquered the 20-kilometre Whitehorse Adventure Run, also known as W.A.R., on Sunday in just under three hours.

Sara Neilsen and Nathan Doering conquered the 20-kilometre Whitehorse Adventure Run, also known as W.A.R., on Sunday in just under three hours.

They won $350 in the process.

Known also as team Control Devouring Sex Tornado, the pair finished with a time of 2:57:35, six and a half minutes ahead of close second-place finishers Greg McHale and Rob McConnell, whose time was 3:03:52.

Some of the competitors tackled W.A.R. to train for the Yukon Adventure Challenge, a 24- to 36-hour adventure race scheduled for June 9-10th that includes canoeing and biking in addition to heavy orienteering challenges.

W.A.R. organizers upped the level of navigation skills required from the 2006 challenge to help train racers for the Yukon Adventure Challenge. Now there is more off-trail work.

Participants had to cross creeks, crawl into canyons and scale small cliffs.

Experienced orienteer Forest Pearson was part of the Yukon Orienteering Association organizing pod that crafted the operation and set up checkpoints within an area of roughly 16 square kilometres.

To make the “theatre” even more challenging, the squadrons (as they were called) were given incomplete maps, he said.

“At the start of the race, the route maps only showed about half the race,” said Pearson.

After the first nine checkpoints, squadrons entered “the Matrix,” a detailed navigation area just off Fish Lake Road. There, they had to locate five canisters containing co-ordinates.

Squadrons then had to plot the co-ordinates correctly onto their maps before they could begin the second half of the race.

The Pearson Privateers, Sky and Lake Pearson, came in third with a time of 3:52:49 after tackling the hilly course that led off into the bush of Mt. McIntyre and McIntyre Creek.

Last year’s W.A.R. victors, Rodney Hulstein and Scott Westberg were a close fourth, at 4:06:43, having run into a snag along the way.

“They were in third place coming out of The Matrix and their next checkpoint was only about 300 metres away,” said Pearson.

“It took them an hour and 20 minutes to find it,” he said sympathetically.

He then added, under his breath: “pretty entertaining.”

But the Hulstein-Westberg team gunned it towards the end on the Chilkoot Climb, a steep 100-metre vertical within 1.2 kilometres.

With a time of nine minutes and five seconds for the ascent, the gents won the “beer prize” sponsored by Yukon Brewing Company.

Other participating W.A.R.-ior teams consisted of Anna Pugh and Michelle Christensen-Towes; “Live Wyers” Shannon and Tom Wyers; and Dan Shier and Helen Stappers, “Maalamba.”

As the W.A.R.-iors soldiered on, “activity-ists” Philippa McNeil, Don White, and Jean-Francois Latour gave the alternate six-kilometre People Enjoying Adventurous Competitive Exercise (P.E.A.C.E.) a chance, finishing as the top three.

Each added four optional petal-shaped orienteering loops onto their routes, for a total course of 10 kilometres, and earned all four “flower-power” 15-minute time bonuses.

Having shaved off 60 minutes in credit, McNeil, White, and Latour’s times were, respectively, 31:57, 39:19, and 58:05.