Mayo marathon sees largest ever turnout

High temperatures may have prevented record times from being posted, but they didn't prevent a record turnout at the 17th annual Mayo Midnight Marathon, which finished around 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

High temperatures may have prevented record times from being posted, but they didn’t prevent a record turnout at the 17th annual Mayo Midnight Marathon, which finished around 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

A total of 230 participants took part in the marathon, half marathon, 10-kilometre and five-kilometre events with 218 reaching the finish line.

That’s almost 60 more participants than last year and 10 more than the previous record.

At the source of the record was the event’s timing. Usually the marathon takes place the same weekend as the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay, but not this year.

“This year it was staggered, so we knew our numbers were going to be a little bit bigger,” said race director Cheryl Klippert. “That’s probably the reason why, because the bike relay was last weekend.”

The bulk of the runners were in the 10-kilometre and the half marathon distances, with 65 and 62 respectively.

But looking at all the distances, one name keeps popping out at the top of lists: Freeman.

The Freeman clan, which is a Whitehorse family of runners, was the fastest in three events.

Mother Cynthia won the women’s half marathon, father Yanik won the men’s 10-kilometre run and daughter Lisa won the five-kilometre event for runners 13-and-under.

RELATED:  See full results here.

“We usually send somebody from our family – I think for the last nine years now,” said Cynthia.

“Lisa is only seven and she won the five kilometre!”

Not only was Cynthia fastest in the women’s half marathon with a time of one hour, 42 minutes and three seconds, she was second overall behind Whitehorse’s Tom Ullyett.

Cynthia won her division in the half marathon in 2010 and has also won the 10-kilometre women’s event in the past. On Saturday she was five seconds slower than in 2010.

“I was chasing (Whitehorse’s) Sue (Bogle) last time, so I had this chase mentality,” said Cynthia.

“The people there are so friendly and helpful, that’s why we keep going back,” she added.

Lisa was also a standout. In addition to winning the five-kilometre event for females 13-and-under, she finished third overall out of all age groups, male and female.

Ullyett, who was in the event for the second time, completed the half distance in 1:31:32.

“I was a little bit slower than last time, but I have all kinds of excuses,” joked Ullyett. “But the only reason I won it was because none of the fast male runners, with one exception, came up to Mayo. There was one fast male runner there who ran the 10 (kilometre) and won the 10 – Yanik Freeman – and had he won the half marathon, he would have won, as he has in the past. Almost all the A-list runners stayed in Whitehorse.”

The Mayo marathon underwent major restructuring last year. Instead of sending runners off at midnight, organizers set staggered start times in the evening aimed at getting all the runners to finish around midnight.

“This event went without a hitch; everything went smoothly,” said Klippert. “The time-keeping was smooth, there weren’t any glitches. Nobody had any complaints.

“The weather was outstanding. It went up to 29 (degrees Celsius) here in Mayo without a drop of rain. Some people complained it was too hot for running.”

As usual, the massive, homemade breakfast was a hit.

“From an event point-of-view, it’s a wonderful event,” said Ullyett. “It’s a great community event. They put in so much effort – it’s obvious how much effort puts into that event. It’s tied to the (Mayo Arts) Festival, which makes it very special.

“The breakfast they have in the morning is legendary.

“It’s a bit of a drive from Whitehorse, but anybody who lives in the communities would say, ‘Well, we have to drive into Whitehorse all the time.’”

Contact Tom Patrick at

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