Like family celebrating the birth of a new member, old hands are in attendance to launch the Yukon Gold Ultra, the Arctic Ultra’s summer sister race.
Both checkers and competitors, from here and away, can expect a weekend of trailside reunions during the Discovery Day event.
“Having the first entrant sign up is always a magic moment,” says Gold founder Shelley Gellatly.
“Even more so if it is the first edition of a new race.”
YAU marathon veteran Sue McKinnon-Dunn sparked local interest in the 50-mile, while Brooklyn rookie Alfatah Kader fired up the 100-mile challenge.
Under the banner of “Let your Quest Begin,” the Gold serves several interests.
It’s tailored to homegrown adventurers who seek a test.
And it gives the competitors in the Yukon Trail Marathon, an outlet for their adventurous side in the summer.
For winter masters, the Gold provides a fresh vista of the Yukon “out of season.”
A contingent returning from the lower mainland will extend their race premiere with road and river tours.
The same Pacific team — current women’s 100-mile holder Mary Beck, her husband Lang Evans, and Frank Janssens — have brought a fan club with them to cheer everyone on.
Evans is the lone long-distance cyclist, but Tagish newcomer Ed Hopkins will pace him on the first 50 miles.
From 7 a.m. Saturday all 11 athletes have 20 hours for the Whitehorse periphery trails from Rotary Park to behind mount McIntyre. Then, the 100-milers have 28 hours longer for the Southern Lakes leg that winds around to the ski chalet.
Friends unable to attend, such as California YAU finisher Sally Mason, are enthusiastic about the prospects for Yukon-style ultra racing.
“I really support what Shelley is doing with this race,” she said, and will definitely attend future competitions.”
To follow the debut, visit www.goldultra.com.