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Orienteerers brave the elements at long championship

The final installment of the Yukon Orienteering Championship wasn't just the longest, it was the coldest and wettest.

The final installment of the Yukon Orienteering Championship wasn’t just the longest, it was the coldest and wettest.

The long distance championship was originally supposed to have taken place in June but was postponed due to a bear in the area.

Instead of bears, the 34 participants had to deal with chilly temperature and a constant drizzle at the event held on the Long Lake southeast map, just next to Whitehorse General Hospital, on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately a lot of people are away right now and the nasty weather probably didn’t help either. It wasn’t a huge field,” said Whitehorse’s Brent Langbakk.

Langbakk, a five-time Team Canada member at the world championships, took first on the 6.2-kilometrre expert course with a time of 52 minutes and 55 seconds.

Many of Yukon’s top orienteerers have already left for Atlantic Canada for the Canadian Orienteering Championships, but Langbakk still had some stiff competition.

Whitehorse’s Trevor Bray, who recently competed at his fourth Junior World Orienteering Championships in Norway, came second with a time of 55:23.

“I knew to beat him I’d need to have a pretty good race,” said Langbakk. “My race went pretty well, actually. It was fairly clean. My fitness is coming around a little bit, so that’s good.”

Whitehorse’s Jennifer MacKeigan, the only female in the expert division, wasn’t far behind. The 22-year-old, who has also competed at a junior worlds, placed fourth overall on the expert course with a time of 83:31.

MacKeigan just returned from competing at the Scottish 6 Days orienteering tournament.

“I just got back from a big tournament race in Scotland and I haven’t had a rest-day yet so, yes, I was tired,” said MacKeigan, a member of Canada’s high-performance program. “There was a lot of trail running legs, which just took it out of me.

“It fun, it was enjoyable. A little cold, but otherwise it was good.”

The long championship also marked a third straight win for Savannah Cash. Cash won the advanced course in the sprint, the intermediate course in the middle and the intermediate course on Wednesday.

Contact Tom Patrick at


Expert (6.2 km)

1st Brent Langbakk - 52:55

2nd Trevor Bray - 55:23

3rd Afan Jones - 63:39

4th Jennifer MacKeigan - 83:31

5th Gerry Willomitzer - 85:20

6th Darren Holcombe - 87:49

7th Dave Hildes - 105:58

Advanced (4.7 km)

1st Kerstin Burnett - 68:28

2nd Ryan Kelly - 75:49

3rd Bob Sagar - 80:39

4th Pascale Marceau - 86:29

5th Linda MacKeigan - 116:01

Intermediate (3.7 km)

1st Savannah Cash - 44:20

2nd Lara Melnik - 54:15

3rd Ev Pasichnyk - 73:57

4th Tess Lawrence - 74:13

5th Violet van Hees - 80:03

6th Darcy Olesen/Leo Willomitzer - DNF

Novice (2.0 km)

1st Andrea McNeil/Brower family - 29:14

2nd Pippa McNeil/Stian Langbakk - 29:14

3rd Elvira Knaack/Maura Glenn - 46:45

4th Van Tongeren family - 48:26

5th Koh family - 49:04