River Runner better for spectators, participants

With this year's Yukon Quest starting in Whitehorse and ending in Fairbanks, some mushing buffs won't get their fill of exciting sprints to the finish line. Well, that might be the case, if not for this year's River Runner 100.

With this year’s Yukon Quest starting in Whitehorse and ending in Fairbanks, some mushing buffs won’t get their fill of exciting sprints to the finish line.

Well, that might be the case, if not for this year’s River Runner 100.

The Road Runner 100, as it was known last year in its inaugural run, will not only start in Shipyards Park again, this year it will also end there, all amongst the thrill of Rendezvous weekend.

“Last year, everyone was under the impression that, running next to the road, it would be spectator friendly,” said organizing committee member Amil Dupui-Rossi. “I think the fact that it starts and finishes at Shipyards Park amidst Rendezvous makes it spectator friendly, even more so than having it run along the roadside in the wee hours of the morning.”

Last year’s 160-kilometre Road Runner, which finished in the Aishihik area, saw 17 mushing teams and three skijor teams enter.

This time the race, put on by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon, will be from Whitehorse to Mendenhall and back, using the Takhini River, the Dawson Overland Trail – like the Yukon Quest – cutting through the Ibex Valley.

The route means a lot less roadside mushing and more time on a river, hence the name change.

“One of the things about it going up along the highway is there’s lots of dips – ups and downs – and that wasn’t good for the skijorers,” said Dupui-Rossi. “The dogs faired well, but the skiers were all over the place.”

With a six-hour mandatory layover in Mendenhall, the dog-teams will leave Shipyards at 5 p.m. on February 26 and are expected to begin returning the next day around noon.

Stretching about 209 kilometres, the River Runner is far from the longest dog-sled race, but is the longest skijor race in North America – perhaps the world.

“I’m doing some research and I haven’t found anything to say otherwise,” said Dupui-Rossi.

Using the same trail going out as coming in, unlike last year, also helps insure proper grooming. Last year’s race was intended to finish in Haines Junction, but was cut short due to unexplained trail damage.

“Logistically, it’s a lot easier to put in and maintain a trail from Whitehorse to Mendenhall and back because we can get twice as much grooming on the trail,” said Darryl Sheepway, a committee member and a skijorer in last year’s race. “We can get twice as many trips on the trail and that will help ensure we have a better trail for the competitors this year, over last year.”

Crispin Studer, last year’s champion musher, and skijor winner Gaetan Pierrard, are expected to return to defend their titles. If they do register, that leaves space for 23 more teams, including skijorers.

Entry forms for the race, which costs $125 before the February 19 deadline, should be up on the association website at dpsay.wordpress.com by the weekend or early next week.

Sled dog teams require a minimum of six dogs with a maximum of 10 and skijor teams from two to four.

“It’s a challenge to train for. It’s quite a bit longer than any of the other skiing races – more than double,” said Sheepway.

“Completing it was a highlight for me, going that far and doing it in one big run.

“For training I’m just trying to put miles on the dogs, get them conditioned. So I’m starting to increase the mileage on my runs now.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

Most Read