Reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace isn’t easy. Navigating it is pretty tough too, as orienteers discovered this weekend.
The WAR and Peace races were hosted by the Yukon Orienteering Association on Sunday in the Chadburn Lake area.
“It’s definitely the toughest half-marathon,” said organizer Brent Langbakk, who has represented Canada five times at the world championships. “Straight through the forest, up and down, and you have to navigate as well. It’s tough.”
The Whitehorse Adventure Race, or WAR, is not your average orienteering event. Besides being a half-marathon in length, participants competed in pairs and had to perform some unusual tasks, such as building a fire and boiling a can of water over it, and recording a destination with a digital camera, instead of using an electronic control station.
With relatively simple routes and quirky tasks, the Yukon Orienteering Association was hoping to attract new participants to the sport, like hikers and long-distance runners.
“It’s a chance for runners to try a sport with running and simple navigations, to give them an introduction,” said Langbakk.
For those not up to the challenge, organizers also laid out a shorter, individual race called Peace, stretching along about 8.5-kilometres of trail.
“Those who are not ready for that big challenge yet can do that,” said Langbakk.
Finishing ahead of a dozen other teams and winning the WAR was a team called “I’ve Got Nothing” featuring Patrick Goeres and Chris Piller, both visiting from Vancouver, BC.
“The second half, for us, was definitely the most fun,” said Goeres. “We got a little bit further into the terrain—off the trails—and there were some nice views of the mountains.
“The course was excellent. We really enjoyed it.”
Goeres is currently on the national team and Piller is a former member. Both have previously navigated Yukon terrain, competing in the 2004 Canadian Orienteering Championships held in the territory. It was the first national competition North of 60.
“That’s when I fell in love with the Yukon,” said Piller.
Finishing second in the WAR event was the Whitehorse team “My Friend is a Pro,” which consists of Colin Abbott and Lee Hawkings, national junior team members who will be representing Canada at the Junior World Championships being held early July in Italy. They arrived almost one hour before the third-place team, “Woodland Ninjas,” Logan Roots and Knute Johnsgaard from Whitehorse.
For Goeres and Piller, the victory tasted a little like beer. In a section of the race called the Chilkoot Climb, the fastest team to complete the leg of the race received beer and T-shirts from Yukon Brewing Company.
“Even if you’re totally out of it and you don’t have a chance at winning at all, you can still win the beer,” said Langbakk.
Going from trails to ales, Goeres and Piller won the suds.
“We were a little extra-motivated for that one—we didn’t want the juniors to beat us,” said Goeres.
WAR team results
1st “I’ve Got Nothing” (Patrick
Goeres/Chris Piller) – 3:05:05
2nd “My Friend is a Pro”
(Colin Abbott/Lee Hawkings) –
3rd “Woodland Ninjas” (Logan
Roots/Knute Johnsgaard) –
4th “Surprise Us” (Denise
McHale/Greg McHale) –
5th “J2” (Jonathan Kerr/Darrin
Holcombe) – 4:07:09
1st Afan Jones 1:32:53
2nd Pam James 1:43:10
3rd Lake Pearson 2:04:20
4th Jim Hawkings 2:23:19
5th Hannah Shier 2:24:59
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