Yukoner Dahria Beatty was the fastest female in the Arctic Circle Race after finishing the 160-kilometre race in a time of 14 hours, 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
The three-day race held annually in Sisimiut, Greenland, requires racers to not only ski the full race distance over three stages, but also to camp each night between stages.
Participants cook their own food, sleep in tents and wax their own skis without access to warm beds, hot showers or other creature comforts.
Not only the fastest female, Beatty’s time was good enough to place her fifth overall in the field of 59 and just 13 minutes off third place.
Beatty said the race was unlike anything she had ever done.
“The first day was a similar feel to any kind of long distance race or loppet — you’re starting the race fresh after sleeping warm and indoors and you have lots of energy and the excitement of the race,” said Beatty. “I finished the first day and said, ‘Oh, this is not so bad.’”
Days two and three, however, were a bit different.
“You weren’t necessarily using the same energy and muscles that you would use when you’re doing another kind of short distance race,” said Beatty. “It’s more trying to make sure that you’re keeping your body warm and surviving. The second and third day … it was more about how to manage energy, eat food and stay warm enough. I wasn’t going quite as fast any more because I’d run out of energy so I could enjoy the scenery a bit more and look around at the amazing landscapes.”
A press release from race organizers said the weather was cool and that temperatures dipped below -28 C for portions of the race.
“It was probably below -20 C for all three days of racing, but it was a very enjoyable hard the first day,” said Beatty. “Staying in a tent at night, it went down to -25 C and -27 C.”
Beatty’s father, Craig Beatty, also took part in the race, finishing 2nd in the 50 and older category of the race.
Craig had previously completed the race in 2005, and Dahria said they had hoped to do it together at one point.
“This year for the first time it worked out perfectly with both of our schedules to go to Greenland and do the race together,” said Dahria. “He was a lot more consistent than me. His time on the third day was only 15 minutes slower than his time on the first day, whereas I was over an hour slower. His training of lots of long skis in Whitehorse this winter paid off.”
Greenlandic skiers Martin Møller, Frederik Petersen and Malik Møller finished first, second and third in the race and France’s Philippe De Saboulin was fourth.
Paneeraq Sandgreen of Greenland was the second-fastest woman, finishing just under two hours after Beatty in 10th position.
In addition to the 160-kilometre race, a 100-kilometre race also took place simultaneously on a different course.
Christian Nielsen was the fastest overall in the 100-kilometre race and Riikka Ejsted was the fastest female.
The race concluded with a party featuring local Greenlandic food such as whale, muskox, reindeer, seal and dried fish, as well as music and dance from Sisimiut residents.
Beatty has had a busy season as one of three Whitehorse skiers to both compete on the World Cup circuit and represent Canada at the Olympics.
She finished 13th in both the team sprint and the 4x5-kilometre relay at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.
This year was the 22nd time the Arctic Circle Race has been held.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org