Whitehorse’s Denise McHale became Canada’s National Women’s Ultra running champion last weekend, with her win at the Blackfoot Ultra marathon, held outside of Edmonton, Alberta.
McHale completed the 100-kilometre race in a time of 9 hours, 15 minutes and 5 seconds, smashing the women’s existing course record by one hour and 22 minutes. Her time even beat the existing male record by 25 minutes.
“My forte has always been running, especially marathons. I choose to run the Ultra to see how far I could test my own athletic abilities,” says McHale.
“The results were more than even I expected. My training paid off. Adventure racing has helped me prepare mentally, which is of course required to run nine hours straight.
“It was also great to do a solo race again, as lately most of my racing has been as a member of a four-person adventure racing team.”
Next on the agenda: Denise and husband Greg prepare to host 14 teams in the Yukon Challenge on June 9 and10 in Whitehorse.
Thirty-one riders showed up early Saturday morning at Jake’s Corner for the annual race to the South Access.
This point-to-point race has become an annual event and the turnout increases each year.
Under near windless conditions the 77.5-kilometre distance was hotly contested in all categories.
A large field in the Sport Men’s Class saw Dan Reimer play his cards right and win a close sprint finish over Darren Holcombe, Shawn McCarron and John Berryman.
Allison Furniss won the Expert Women’s Class — just — over Katharine Sandiford. Both women completed the course in the exact same time — 1 hour 59 minutes and 19 seconds.
Trina Irving, who is in serious training for her solo attempt at the upcoming Kluane to Chilkat International Bike Relay, had a very solid ride to finish first in the Sport Women’s Division, and novice rider Shannon Meekins once again rode extremely well in finishing first in her class.
Another exciting finish was seen in the Expert Men’s Class. The men were required to do one lap of the Miles Canyon Loop once they reached the South Access — adding another 10 kilometres to their race distance.
However, it was more the significant hills rather than distance that made this a challenge.
All the key players, despite various attacks along the route, started their one lap of the Miles Canyon Loop in a tight bunch.
Approaching the first major hill on the loop, Jonah Clark launched an attack that was covered by Glen Iceton, Marcus Waterreus and Stephen Waterreus.
They quickly separated themselves fron the rest of the bunch. In the end it was Clark and Waterreus fighting it out for the win with Waterreus managing to slip by Clark by half a wheel at the finish.
Sport Women — 77.5 km
1st 2:13:43 — Trina Irving
2nd 2:17:59 — Niki Deneault
3rd 2:30:23 — Chrissy Murray
Novice Women — 77.5 km
1st 2:37:00 — Shannon Meekins
Expert Women — 77.5 km
1st 1:59:19 — Allison Furniss
2nd 1:59:13 — Katharine Sandiford?
3rd 2:03:43 — Monika Melnychuk
Sport Men — 77.5 km
1st 1:57:10 — Dan Reimer
2nd 1:57:11 — Darren Holcombe
3rd 1:57:11 — Shawn McCarron
Expert Men — 87.5 km
1st 2:06:20 — Stephen Waterreus
2nd 2:06:20 — Jonah Clarke
3rd 2:06:51 — Marcus Waterreus
Sixty people came out under mainly sunny skies to take part in Wednesday evening’s meet put on by the Yukon Orienteering Association. The meet was held on the Long Lake Southeast map.
For the 1.8-kilometre novice course, Kerstin Burnett placed first with a time of 16:48, while Logan Florkiewicz came in second in 18:28 and Dustin Wilkinson third in 19:39.
On the 4.21-kilometre intermediate level course, Logan Roots won first place in 48:51, followed by Rodney Hulstein with a time of 51:18 and Phil Hoffman in 54:10.
National team member Pam James completed the 3.45-kilometre short advanced course first, finishing with a time of 32:13.
Pippa McNeil came in second in 35:51, closely beating out Nansen Murray by 15 seconds.
Three orienteers decided to take on the challenge of the 7.3-kilometre long advanced course.
National team member Brent Langbakk came in first at 56:00, followed by Ross Burnett in 74:12 and Forest Pearson in 75:30.
“A very encouraging sign is that there were about 20 people who did the short advanced course,” said Langbakk.
“I think it shows we are getting more and more technically good orienteers in our club.”
The next regular meet for the Yukon Orienteering Association will be on Wednesday, June 13, using the Mount Lorne map. Start location is at the Robinson Roadhouse.
For more information, visit www.yukonorienteering.ca.