Crystal Schick/Yukon News file An ultra marathon racer runs the last kilometre of the Reckless Raven race in Whitehorse on July 1, 2018. The 80-kilometre race is about the only sporting event still scheduled to go in the coming months.

Organizers continue to plan for Reckless Raven

Significant changes or eventual cancellation not ruled out

It would seem the Reckless Raven is about the only sporting event still on the schedule for the next few months.

The 50-mile (80-kilometre) ultra and relay race scheduled for June 28 is set to go ahead, though organizers are prepared to make changes to the race and potentially cancel it if need be amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen nearly all sporting events cancelled over the next few months.

“We might have to make that heart-breaking decision,” Vincent Larochelle, one of the organizers, said in an April 1 interview. “We don’t know how long this is going to last.”

The interview came after race organizers sent a letter to racers that they were not yet going to cancel.

As Larochelle said, it is not a race that involves a lot to stage and it can be easily cancelled closer to the date if need be.

“We haven’t lost hope yet,” he said.

The reaction of racers to the letter and email was mixed with some criticizing moving ahead during the health emergency, while others have told organizers this is giving them something to continue training for.

Larochelle noted too that much will depend on the continuing recommendations from the territory’s chief medical officer of health Brendan Hanley.

Right now, Yukoners can still go out on trails to run or walk, provided they practise physical distancing.

Should Hanley move to recommending against that, race officials would likely reconsider whether they want to move forward, as holding the event would encourage runners to train.

Organizers are also looking at what adjustments could be made. It could be changes in aid stations, rules against gathering at the finish line and more.

“The race format might change quite significantly,” Larochelle said.

While registrations are continuing to come in with the number of racers up to about 125, Larochelle said the organization is advising anyone coming to Whitehorse from Outside for the race not to book tickets and, if they do, to book flexible tickets.

That said, he noted the race is largely run by Yukoners. Generally those who come up from Outside are part of a Yukon team competing in the race.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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