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First Dempster to Dawson race a sunny success

People had doubts when Run Dawson decided to schedule a marathon the same day as the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, one of the biggest events on Yukon’s sports calendar.

People had doubts when Run Dawson decided to schedule a marathon the same day as the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, one of the biggest events on Yukon’s sports calendar.

Those doubts were put to rest over the weekend.

Over 260 runners and walkers took part in the Dempster to Dawson City Solstice Race on Saturday under hot, sunny skies.

The Dawson event is filling the void left by the Mayo Midnight Marathon, which ended after a 20-year run last year.

“Mayo ran their marathon for many, many years, and their volunteers were just tired out and didn’t want to do it again this year,” said Run Dawson’s Jody Beaumont. “So we jumped on it and it’s always been run on this weekend.

“When we were putting the word out we did get quite a few calls from people saying, ‘You know it’s the same weekend as the bike relay?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, it always is.’

“There are a lot of people who would easily participate in either event, then you have an equal amount of people who bike only or run only.”

The inaugural event offered marathon, relay marathon and half-marathon distances, plus 10- and five-kilometre runs and walks. The marathon began 2.2 kilometres up the Dempster Highway, taking runners over the Klondike River, along the valley, to Dawson’s Waterfront Park, with elevation dropping from 504 metres down to about 30 at the finish line.

Beaumont admits Run Dawson was surprised by the number of people who registered for the race – especially for its first year – but everything went smoothly, she said.

“We ended up being prepared, but we did not expect so many people to sign up as did,” said Beaumont.

“We budgeted for about 175, but expected more like 200, and so we far surpassed that … Given how well everything went, we can probably expect higher numbers next year. So we’ll have to do some planning around our logistics. Everything worked very well this year, but we had hit the limit. Getting people out to the start line was the trickiest thing because we were working with various businesses in town with passenger vans.

“I can’t believe how well the transportation went. Once everyone is running, to be honest, it’s pretty much a piece of cake.”

The Dempster to Dawson event, which saw four divisions won by Dawsonites (including the relay), was a true international affair. Participants came from Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, B.C., N.W.T., Alaska, Washington, Florida and Georgia, as well as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Belgium.

Run Dawson, which organizes the annual Midnight Dome Race, would be happy to see even more places represented next year.

“We’d be happy to have more people now that we know that that’s a possibility, with the time to plan for it,” said Beaumont. “We didn’t even know we could have this race until the end of February and so we put this together in a few very short months. With a bit more time, that certainly won’t be a problem for us to accommodate more people.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

Top five results

Five-kilometre run female

1st Cheryl Maguire (Whitehorse) – 28:03

2nd Wendy Sullivan (Johns Creek, Ga.) – 28:46

3rd Jana Partlova (Prague) – 29:56

4th Selwyn Larson (Dawson) – 30:03

5th Syndey Larsen (Dawson) – 32:02

Five-kilometre run male

1st Matthew Strudwick (Whitehorse) – 25:01

2nd Manuel Mainville (Whitehorse) – 26:38

3rd John MacPhail (Whitehorse) – 30:07

4th Camron Maguire (Whitehorse) – 32:21

5th John Seguin (Astorville, Ont.) – 35:55

Five-kilometre walk female

1st Janet Bell (Dawson) – 47:02

2nd Beth Hickman (New Zealand) – 47:34

3rd Stephanie Van Fleet (Dawson) – 55:14

3rd Frances Aitken (Dawson) – 55:14

5th Karen Hertzfeld (Pasadena, Fla.) – 56:35

Five-kilometre walk male

1st Seth MacDonald-Bell (Dawson) – 47:02

2nd Noah Robbins (Dawson) – 51:30

3rd Andy Hertzfeld (Pasadena, Fla.) – 54:58

4th Roger Sullivan (Johns Creek, Ga.) – 55:00

5th John McDonald (Dawson) – 1:04:34

10-kilometre run female

1st Erin Henderson (Whitehorse) – 50:28

2nd Elizabeth Adams (Glasgow, U.K.) – 50:46

3rd Karen Larkin (Whitehorse) – 54:30

4th Maggie Galbraith (Whitehorse) – 55:13

5th Kay Linley (Dawson) – 1:00:23

10-kilometre run male

1st Neil Adams (Glasgow, U.K.) – 41:48

2nd Adam Henderson (Whitehorse) – 43:15

3rd Naoise Dempsey (Whitehorse) – 43:16

4th Ben Kishchuk (Whitehorse) – 47:53

5th Travis Adams (Whitehorse) – 51:59

10-kilometre walk female

1st Bonnie Love (Whitehorse) – 1:14:57

2nd Becky Striegler (Whitehorse) – 1:15:49

3rd Tanya Astika (Whitehorse) – 1:18:26

4th Catherine Simpson (Whitehorse) – 1:22:36

5th Daisy Maguire (Dawson) – 1:27:36

10-kilometre walk male

1st John Storms (Whitehorse) – 1:03:39

2nd Tom Ullyett (Whitehorse) – 1:07:53

3rd Ralph Mease (Mayo) – 1:35:53

4th Russ Bruce (Langley, B.C.) – 1:41:08

Half-marathon female

1st Amelia Fraser (Whitehorse) – 1:42:50

2nd Jolien Verdegem (Belgium) – 1:53:50

3rd Erin Spiewak (Whitehorse) – 1:55:24

4th Stephanie Coombes (Whitehorse) – 2:01:18

5th Sophie Janke (Whitehorse) – 2:06:55

Half -marathon male

1st Thomas Moon (Blaine, Wash.) – 1:33:58

2nd Jen Vandenberghe (Belgium) – 1:38:41

3rd Andy Blattmann (Faro) – 1:41:54

4th Evan Bugden (Morden, Man.) – 1:44:07

5th Keith Maguire (Whitehorse) – 1:50:38

Marathon female

1st Marit Rjabov (Whitehorse) – 4:11:12

2nd Bronwyn Benkert (Whitehorse) – 4:16:16

3rd Melissa Atkinson (Dawson) – 4:38:20

Marathon male

1st Brian Larkin (Dawson) – 3:36:00

2nd John Parry (Whitehorse) – 4:10:41

3rd Don White (Whitehorse) – 4:11:02

4th Michael Knutson (Whitehorse) – 4:12:12

5th Jordie Winn (Mayo) – 4:19:57