Nishikawas first to the top at Dawson’s Dome Race

This coming winter is a big one for Whitehorse siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa as they attempt to make Canada's cross-country ski team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

This coming winter is a big one for Whitehorse siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa as they attempt to make Canada’s cross-country ski team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun over the summer, like taking in the Dawson City Music Festival and participating in a grueling uphill running race.

The two national team skiers were the top male and female finishers at the 36th annual Midnight Dome Race in Dawson City on Saturday.

Graham completed the 7.2-kilometre run up the Dome Road, climbing 564 metres in elevation, in 33 minutes and seven seconds. Emily reached the top of the Dome in 42:50.

“It was really fun to go up to Dawson for the music fest and do the Dome run,” said Emily. “(With) cross-country skiing, we have strong legs for that race. It’s quite hard and it’s quite a bit different from a flat running race.

“The whole music fest is a fun weekend. And to do Dome Race is pretty sweet.”

It was both Nishikawas’ first win in the event. Emily, who turns 24 on Friday, placed second in the juvenile division in 2006.

It’s been over a decade since Graham took part in the race.

“I think I did it in 2002, so over 10 years ago,” said the 29-year-old. “So it’s been a long time; I haven’t been up to Dawson City in 10 years or so.

“This year I had a good run. It was just a lot of fun with the whole weekend.”

The Nishikawas weren’t the only top-notch cross-country skiers tearing it up in the race.

Current Yukon champ Knute Johnsgaard placed second in the race at 37:38. Johnsgaard took first in his Year of Birth division (1992) at the Haywood Ski Nationals in March.

Calgary’s Brent McMurtry placed third at 38:40. McMurtry, a friend of Graham’s, competed for Canada in cross-country skiing at the 2010 Olympic Games.

“It’s a good skier-running race because it’s all about fitness,” said Graham. “You don’t really need much technique, you just put your head down and charge.”

Madeline Williams (45:05) placed third behind second place’s Sarah McCraig (43:20) in open women. Williams, a former national skier, is Graham’s fiancee and the two will tie the knot this Saturday.

The Nishikawa siblings had their best seasons to date this past winter. The two posted their strongest results at a World Cup in December and qualified for, and competed in, their first Nordic World Ski Championships in February. Graham was the first male skier from the Yukon to qualify for the worlds and Emily was the first female from the territory to compete since 1997.

They are both excited for this coming season.

“I’m feeling great,” said Graham. “My time was pretty good up there and I’m happy with how I ran, and it indicates that my fitness is on track. There’s lots and lots of training left, but it’s good to come in mid-summer and see that everything is on track.”

“I’m super excited. This is a really exciting year with tons of opportunities for both Graham and I,” said Emily. “We have so much to look forward to and it should be really good.”

No records were set in this year’s Dome Race, with Graham two minutes from the men’s record and Emily about five minutes from the women’s.

Forty-four runners and 12 walkers took part in the race, which began the year before the first Dawson City Music Festival.



Open women

1st Emily Nishikawa – 42:50

2nd Sarah McCraig – 43:20

3rd Madeline Williams – 45:05

4th Heidi Brook – 45:42

5th Catherine Drovin-Audet – 47:12

6th Ella Parker – 47:22

7th Julie McVicar – 50:28

8th Erin Trochim – 54:40

9th Lia Johnson – 56:04

10th Naomi Gladish – 56:05

11th Allison Furniss – 1:00:37

12th Pavlina Sudrich – 1:00:57

13th Brianne Bremner – 1:01:35

14th Kim Rosing – 1:08:06

15th Alyssa Titus – 1:08:06

16th Tallulah Lamerton – 1:10:22

17th Margaret Landis – 1:11:52


Open men

1st Graham Nishikawa – 33:07

2nd Knute Johnsgaard – 37:38

3rd Brent McMurtry – 38:40

4th Scott Bradley – 45:25

5th Jim McDonald – 47:09

6th Ian Stewart – 47:51

7th Chad Cote – 49:07

8th Chris Stafford – 49:12

9th Matt Sprau – 49:44

10th Jeremy Johnson – 50:11

11th Drew Warkentin – 50:44

12th Derek Hortmon – 51:16

13th Emre Cilem – 51:26

14th Adam Sherrard – 51:39

15th Iain MacKenzie – 54:40

16th Tom Maney – 1:08:06


Junior women

1st Alice Frost-Hanberg – 1:02:22


Masters women

1st Pauline Frost – 57:25

2nd Ellen Clark – 1:00:54

3rd Vanessa Hobden – 1:01:09


Masters men

1st Ian Nyland – 57:00

2nd Rod Jacob – 57:45


Senior women

1st Janis Campbell – 1:07:58

2nd Michele Genest – 1:08:36


Senior men

1st Lorris Williams – 51:12

2nd Roger Hanberg – 54:11

3rd Paul Griffen – 58:21



Bantam women

1st Sarah Nyland – 1:09:40

2nd Teresa Procee – 1:09:40

3rd Kacie Hastings – 1:11:28

4th Aliyah Nyland – 1:11:28

5th Asia Procee – 1:39:35

6th Annie Procee – 1:40:53


Open women

1st Catherine Lamarche – 1:24:40

2nd Janna Swales – 1:24:40


Masters women

1st Jane Haydock – 1:12:04

2nd Selina Procee – 1:23:03


Master men

1st Joel Satzen – 1:08:02


Senior men

1st Ken DeLaBarre – 1:47:32

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