Festivalgoers race to Midnight Dome

For three decades, runners have been charging to the Dawson City Music Festival. Or charging away from it, depending on your perspective. Amidst the festival festivities, 77 participants took part in the Midnight Dome Race on Saturday morning.

For three decades, runners have been charging to the Dawson City Music Festival. Or charging away from it, depending on your perspective.

Amidst the festival festivities, 77 participants took part in the Midnight Dome Race on Saturday morning.

“They come for the music festival – that’s how it works now. Actually they come for both,” said Helen McCullough, an organizer of the race, now in its 33rd year – one more than the music festival.

“They’re hardy runners – and the walkers too. The walkers get a category, but they’re not really competing. And many of the runners aren’t competing either; they’re doing it for themselves.”

Starting in downtown Dawson at 10 a.m., participants ran the 7.2 kilometres up the Dome Road past the vehicle turnaround, switched onto a trail and then climbed to the summit of the Midnight Dome that reaches 564 metres in elevation.

Completing the climb first overall was Whitehorse’s Stephen Waterreus in the master male runner category, winning his third straight Midnight Dome.

“I think this might be my last time running the Dome,” said Waterreus. “I wanted to get a three-peat and then retire from it.

“Probably I’ll come out of retirement.”

Waterreus, who won the Dry Tri triathlon the weekend before at Takhini Hot Springs, completed the course in 34 minutes and 24 seconds, about three minutes short of the record set by Steven Page a few years ago.

“I’ve been racing it since I was a kid, not every year, obviously, but at least 15 times, if not 20,” said Waterreus. “I’ve had a few other wins throughout the years, but never three back-to-back.

“It’s the exact same thing every year, it’s just a real hard grunt up the hill. You can always expect to be hurting at the top.”

Coming in first out of women competitors (12th overall) was Gwendolyn Muir, from Knowlton, Quebec, who is working in Dawson for the summer. Muir, who recently won the five-kilometre category in the Mayo midnight Marathon, found a hardy run was a good way to balance the indulgent nature of the music festival.

“I think it should happen more often – everywhere,” said Muir. “It’s great to mix up something that is healthy into a weekend where there’s a lot of debauchery. And it’s also a lot of fun, both the music and the running.

“Personally I don’t like running on the street, on the pavement, so being able to run up a hill with trees around was really pleasant.”

The race was far short of the more than 200 runners at its peak about a decade ago, but did have participants from throughout Canada and abroad. Included in the start lists were runners from Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Prince George, Quebec City, Pembroke, Ontario, as well as Alaska, New York and even one from Vranov, Czech Republic, in town visiting friends.

Those who did not get their fill of competition – or just wanting to get back into the music festival state of mind – the Dome race is followed by an unofficial tag-on event, a race back down ending in downtown at the Westminster Hotel, aka the “Pit.”

“We run down and the first person into the Pit is the winner,” said Waterreus. “It’s always our goal to be in the Pit before noon.

“I was the victor in that race as well.”

The Run Dawson running club, which hosted the Dome race and the Gold Poke Run during the May long-weekend, will be hosting the Discovery Days Race in Dawson next month.

Top results

Junior female runner

1st Heidi Brook (Whitehorse) – 57:29

2nd Heather Clarke (Whitehorse) – 1:00:57

Junior male runner

1st Knute Johnsgaard (Whitehorse) – 36:05

Open female runner

1st Gwendolyn Muir (Knowlton, Quebec) – 43:46

2nd Adele Lay (Ottawa) – 45:19

3rd Brittany Pearson-Smith (Whitehorse) – 45:48

4th Kaley Strachan (Whitehorse) – 46:23

5th Brittany Greer (Whitehorse) – 50:37

Open male runner

1st Ray Sabo (Whitehorse) – 35:01

2nd Colin Abbott (Whitehorse) – 36:25

3rd Drew Bryenton (Eagle, AK) – 37:24

4th Harsen Murray (Whitehorse) – 40:53

5th Logan Potter (Whitehorse) – 40:59

Master female runner

1st Joyce Kashman (Whitehorse) – 55:39

2nd Della Reimer (Edmonton) – 55:39

3rd Jenny Trapnell (Whitehorse) – 58:05

4th Terice Reimer-Clarke (Whitehorse) – 1:01:17

5th Sheila Sergej (Whitehorse) – 1:18:30

Master male runner

1st Stephen Waterreus (Whitehorse) – 34:24

2nd Rob Legane (Whitehorse) – 45:03

3rd Scott Fraser (Whitehorse) – 46:59

4th Bob Nishikawa (Whitehorse) – 49:38

5th Mike Tribes (Whitehorse) – 49:46

Senior master female runner

1st Angela Sabo (Whitehorse) – 53:09

2nd Brenda Morrison (Whitehorse) – 59:54

Senior master male runner

1st Art Webster (Whitehorse) – 55:59

2nd Bernard Walsh (Quebec City) – 1:00:57

3rd Frank Narozny (Dawson) – 1:19:58

Open female walker

1st Karen Furlong (Whitehorse) – 1:21:00

Master female walker

1st Jan MacKenzie (Whitehorse) – 1:27:55

2nd Monika Leask (Whitehorse) – 1:28:00

3rd Lucie Wright (Whitehorse) – 1:28:00

4th Pamela Muir (Whitehorse) – 1:28:00

Master male walker

1st Rod Jacob (Whitehorse) – 1:27:55

Senior master female walker

1st Wynne Krangle (Whitehorse) – 1:27:34

Senior master male walker

1st Rod Ambery (Ottawa) – 1:28:00

2nd John Walsh (Whitehorse) – 1:28:00

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com