A win streak of massive proportions has continued at the Arctic Winter Games this week in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Yukon snowshoer Kieran Halliday, who is in his third Arctics, captured his eighth career gold ulu on Monday.
The 18-year-old of Whitehorse placed first in the junior male five-kilometre cross-country race.
He has never lost a race at the Arctic Games.
“I’ve been thinking about this race for six months now,” said Halliday. “I’m down at school (in Vancouver), so it’s really hard to snowshoe, to get the training in. So I was using some weights on my feet when I was running. It’s not really the same, but it gets the leg strength up a bit.”
Halliday took gold with a time of 23 minutes and 55.6 seconds, beating Alaskans Riley Howard (24:43.3) and Riley Moser (25:39.1) in second and third. Moser won four gold medals at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse.
“I was really looking forward to racing him,” said Halliday. “I took an early lead on the first big downhill and I realized right away it was going to be a tough race because I’m going to be all by myself. It just felt great to finish, get this race over, get it behind me. I’m focusing on the next one on Wednesday.”
Halliday won four gold in snowshoeing at the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., and three gold in snowshoe biathlon at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse. He was Team Yukon’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony at the 2013 Canada Summer Games, representing the territory in athletics and tennis.
Halliday’s gold is one of four medals won by Yukon’s snowshoe team on Monday. Yukon also collected three bronze, making a presence on the podium for each of the four races.
Yukon’s Sara Burke-Forsyth actually has more ulus than Halliday after Monday.
Burke-Forsyth placed third in the junior female five-kilometre event. The 18-year-old, who is also in her third Arctics, has two gold, five silver and now, after Monday, two bronze in her career.
Burke-Forsyth raced to bronze with a time of 30:10.0, a minute behind Alberta North’s Mirelle Martens in first.
“I started and I was in second last (out of 12) because that’s how I like to start – nice and slow,” said Burke-Forsyth. “By the second lap I was in fifth. I passed an Alaskan girl and then I passed a Russian girl and as soon as I passed her she just started swearing.”
The team’s other bronze ulus came from Ava Cairns-Locke and Darby McIntyre in the juvenile divisions.
Cairns-Locke placed third in the juvenile female 2.5-kilometre race in 14:37.01, 26 seconds behind first and 10 seconds behind second. Yukon teammate Alice Frost-Handberg was close behind, placing fourth.
McIntyre picked up bronze in the juvenile male 2.5-kilometre in 13:03.47, just 3.12 seconds behind the silver medalist from Yamal, Russia.
Yukon teammate Angus Clarke placed seventh.
Yukon’s Aidan Bradley placed fourth in the junior male race with a time of 26:20.8.
Teammate Kate Londero placed seventh in the junior female race. Londero won two gold and a silver, and Bradley two bronze and a silver, at the 2012 Arctic Games.
The snowshoe events in Fairbanks will resume Wednesday with sprint distance combined events and the mixed relays. Snowshoe will wrap up with the long-distance races on Friday.
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