Marcin Gienieczko, seen here during the 2018 Yukon River Quest, and his teammate Benjamin Schmidt are in fifth place overall in the Yukon 1,000 race at press time. Their team, Independent Poland, is in second place in the tandem canoe category. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)

Paddlers reach halfway point in Yukon 1,000 race

The Yukon 1,000 kicked off in Whitehorse on July 22 with 28 paddlers and 14 teams starting the 1,600-kilometre journey down the Yukon River to the Alaska Pipeline Bridge on the Dalton Highway.

Paddlers are taking part in three different categories for this edition of the race — stand up paddleboard, tandem canoe and tandem kayak.

Unlike other similar events, the stand up paddleboard category is also a tandem event, with two paddlers and two paddleboards for each team.

As of the afternoon of July 26, the Kiwis — a tandem kayak team of Ian Huntsman and Wendy Riach — are leading the way having reached Eagle, Alaska, just before 5 p.m. on July 25.

In second place is Hobo Squad, a tandem canoe team of William Rich and Patrick Broemmel, who reached Eagle six hours after the race leaders.

Team 10th Life Kayaking is running third overall, second in tandem kayak, and were approximately an hour behind Hobo Squad into Eagle.

The top stand up paddleboard team is Team Starboard, with Bart de Zwart running in ninth and teammate Ike Frans close behind in 10th.

Eleven teams have reached Eagle and are on their way to Circle, Alaska, while another two teams are en route from Dawson City to Eagle.

So far the tandem canoe Team Savage of Kelly Linklater and Naomi Umphrey is the only team to withdraw from the race.

The race was started in 2009 and is designed to follow the routes used by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Held yearly from 2009 to 2012, it is now held every two years.

The record for the fastest time in this unsupported race is six days, two hours, 11 minutes and seven seconds by the tandem kayak team of Richard Hendron and Henry Hendron in 2009.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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