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Forest Pearson sweeps orienteering championships

The three segments of this year's Yukon Orienteering Championships featured a good variety of terrain and Whitehorse's Forest Pearson was the fastest on all three.

The three segments of this year’s Yukon Orienteering Championships featured a good variety of terrain and Whitehorse’s Forest Pearson was the fastest on all three.

Pearson was the expert division winner in the long distance finale in the Chadburn Lake area on Wednesday.

He also topped the expert division sprint on June 12 and the middle distance race on June 19.

The sprint, which was held using the Robinson Roadhouse map, featured wide-open trails. The middle, held on the War Eagle map on Fish Lake Road, was very technical with plenty of physical features to navigate with.

Wednesday’s race contrasted the first two with a mix of forest trails and subtle map features.

“It was good. It wasn’t as long as I thought it could have been, but it was long enough,” said Pearson of the long distance race. “It was pretty tricky because a lot of it was pretty vague, real flat country with a little hill in the middle. It was trickier than I thought it would be.”

Pearson’s three wins didn’t come from a lack of competition. For the sprint and the middle he beat out three Whitehorse orienteerers who are currently in the Czech Republic gearing up for the Junior World Orienteering Championships.

On Wednesday he outpaced second place’s Lee Hawkings, who competed at the junior worlds on Team Canada three times.

Pearson competed at two junior worlds in his younger days and was on Canada’s High Performance Team this season, but did not get a spot the national senior team.

“I knew it was a long shot,” he said.

“I don’t think people realize how hard a sport it is,” said Pearson. “It’s not just running, it’s running straight up things and straight down things, through brush and jumping logs for two hours in some races.”

Four Yukoners are on the seven-person team that will compete at the junior worlds at the start of next month.

Whitehorse’s Kendra Murray, Jennifer MacKeigan, Trevor Bray and Pia Blake will represent the country in the Czech Republic.

Another Yukoner, Kerstin Burnett, is currently training in Finland where she will compete at the World Orienteering Championships in the second week of July.

Burnett will have Yukon supporters in the stands. About a half dozen of Yukon orienteerers, including Pearson, will be there as spectators and will also compete in “citizen” or “spectator” races.

“The people who watch, also want to do it,” said Whitehorse’s Barbara Scheck, who is making the trip. “So we’ll get to run on the same maps, but not the same course.”


Novice (2.5 km)

1 Elias Sagar - 27:25

2 Eleanor O’Donovan/Aileen McCorkell - 53:54

3 Maura Glenn/Elvira Knack - 1:25:30


Intermediate (3.7 km)

1 Darcy Olsen - 34:07

2 Lara Melnik - 35:16

3 Beth Hawkings - 43:24

4 Sidyn Maddison - 45:52

5 Ev Pasichnyk - 48:13

6 Linda MacKeigan - 51:20

7 Fumiko Miyahara - 52:02

8 James/Katie Scorgie - 52:30

9 Rhiannon Jones/Scott Weersink - 53:21

10 Pat/Brooke Tobler - 57:54

11 Dave Hambly/Pam Brown - 59:35

12 Lorna Bray - 1:02:17

13 Darryl Bray - 1:02:25

14 Daniele Heon - 2:33:01


Advanced (3.9 km)

1 Ryan Kelly - 56:00

2 Barbara Scheck - 1:01:48

3 Violet van Hees - 1:12:16


Expert (5.2 km)

1 Forest Pearson - 41:36

2 Lee Hawkings - 49:19

3 Gerry Willomitzer - 57:05

4 Ross Burnett - 57:40

5 Bob Sagar - 1:15:59

6 Darren Holcombe - 1:19:58

7 Jim Hawkings - 1:49:24


Contact Tom Patrick at