The legendary Klondike Road Relay is Yukon’s celebration of walking and running.
With the 25th relay now complete, a person could be forgiven for thinking that the competitive running and walking season is over.
But for more than 40 Yukon runners and walkers, a greater challenge awaits them in Victoria over the Thanksgiving weekend.
They will travel to that almost tropical city on Vancouver Island to participate in the Royal Victoria Marathon with thousands of other runners and walkers.
That may explain why Tuesday’s Intersport 5k Fun Run and Walk saw more than 20 runners and walkers pushing themselves in what has become for some a weekly speed test.
The speediest runner on Tuesday was Bill Matiation.
For 25 years, the unassuming and gazelle-like Matiation has been regarded as one of Yukon’s premier runners.
At almost 50 years old, he shows no sign of slowing down. Matiation recorded a top-10 finish on the brutally tough leg 2 of the Road Relay, running for the fastest Canadian team in the race, White’s High Flyers.
The fastest runner in the men’s category, Matiation ran the five-kilometre route in an admirable 18:51. An 18-minute time over that distance is something that few runners of any age will ever attain.
On Tuesday, Matiation could feel the presence of the indestructible ultra-marathoner Keith Thaxter, who finished just 26 seconds later in a near personal best of 19:17.
Having one of his best runs of the season, Patrick Anderson finished in third place (20:43).
The five-kilometre female running crown was returned to Sue Bogle.
After winning most of Intersport’s Tuesday night runs in May, June and July, Bogle took August off.
But in the past week she has roared back by participating in a half marathon in Oakville, Ontario, by being the fastest female on leg 7 in the Road Relay, and by posting the fastest time on Tuesday night (20:07).
Another leading female runner, Josianne Markley, finished in second place (22:16) followed by a group of three runners that saw Janice Fairfield prevail to take third spot (26:18).
The walking category featured some of the usual participants who had to contend with a runner who, along the road to Whitehorse in the KRR, converted himself into a walker by Tuesday evening.
At 32:22, Tom Ullyett was well over the course record, but he still managed to keep ahead of veteran walker Rick Griffiths (36:02) who was one of the fastest walkers at the relay.