Roots, McHale top the field in River Trail Marathon

The first time Whitehorse's Logan Roots registered for the Yukon River Trail Marathon in 2012, he made a small mistake on the registration form.

The first time Whitehorse’s Logan Roots registered for the Yukon River Trail Marathon in 2012, he made a small mistake on the registration form.

“I accidently signed up (for the full distance) in 2012 and since then I’ve had to defend my title,” said Roots,

“Leg 1 is the easiest, Leg 2 is a little harder and by Leg 4 you’re feeling dead. Going around Hidden Lakes on Leg 4 is pretty killer. The last two big hills – you’re golden if you can run those. I certainly couldn’t.”

That mistake has now led to three marathon titles for Roots. The 22-year-old, who missed the race in 2013, won his third title in four years at the event on Sunday.

Roots finished the 42.2-kilometre course – that was two kilometers longer than last year – with a time of two hours, 59 minutes and 16 seconds. Whitehorse’s David Eikelboom, who won in 2013, took second at 3:02:23, about 24 minutes in front of third place’s Sam Herreid of Fairbanks.

“It was good. Really nice weather – perfect weather,” said Roots. “I was a little worried when yesterday it was hammering down rain, which can make the hills pretty slick, but they dried out and had no issues with the shoes. Everything went smooth. No hiccups.”

This year’s marathon had a real mixed bag of champions – a repeat, three-peat, past and new. There was Roots repeating in the men’s full marathon, Carcross’ Denise McHale returning to win the women’s full marathon, Whitehorse’s Lindsay Carson three-peating in the women’s half marathon and Whitehorse’s Jonathan Zaugg winning the men’s half marathon for his first time.

McHale won the women’s full distance with a time of 3:41:50, beating Whitehorse’s Karen McColl (4:49:16) in second and Fairbanks’ Mary Louisa Hewitt (5:07:40) in third.

It was McHale’s fifth time winning the race. The former Canadian 100-kilometre champ was the first woman to finish first overall in the full distance in 2009. She and her husband Greg are preparing to race the U.S. trail marathon championships this November in Utah.

“It was a good training run for me, just trying to get back … I was just excited to be back on the start line again,” said McHale. “We have a race season planned ahead of us.”

Carson notched her third straight half distance women’s title with a time of 1:37:33, beating Whitehorse’s Jody Eikelboom (1:40:12) and Sandra Orban (1:49:27).

Sunday’s race was as tough as ever, said Carson.

“It doesn’t get easier each year, that’s for sure,” said Carson. “Last year was very hot and this year we didn’t have to battle the heat … it was a good day to get out there on the trails.”

Carson is a dynamo on the trails. The 25-year-old took eighth in the Canadian Cross Country Championships last year and went on to represent Canada at the world championships.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running on the trails and I’m trying to tap into my strength in my training right now,” said Carson. “This was a good effort today and I’ll kind of use it to propel me into fall cross-country season, which is where I’ll be putting most of my focus moving forward.”

Zaugg has only run two half marathons and now he’s already won one. After placing second for men last year in his first half, Zaugg took first on Sunday with a time of 1:33:28.

“I think I started out nice and comfortable and was able to turn it up a bit and finish strong,” said Zaugg. “I used to run back in high school and I just started running again three years ago, doing some races now. It’s fun.

“It’s beautiful, nice scenery, although it gets a bit hard to enjoy by the end of it … Thanks to the organizers, it’s a great event.”

Whitehorse’s John Carson came in at 1:39:05 for second, just in front of Edmonton’s Gregory Ablett in third at 1:40:18.

Whitehorse’s Daniel Shier, Helen Stappers and Hannah Shier was the top relay team on the day, winning the mixed division with a time of 4:03:55.

Kaelin Sheaden, Amy Smith, Margo Hager and Jen Moran claimed the top spot in the women’s relay at 4:39:31. Paul Myers, Jed Greenstreet, Thomas Cochran and Tyson Ames raced to first in the men’s relay at 4:10:13.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Top 10 results

Marathon men (42.2 km)

1st Logan Roots (Whitehorse) – 2:59:16

2nd David Eikelboom (Whitehorse) – 3:02:23

3rd Sam Herreid (Fairbanks) – 3:26:31

4th Scott Williams (Whitehorse) – 3:48:13

5th Keith Thaxter (Whitehorse) – 3:57:04

6th Jason Mackey (Whitehorse) – 4:05:17

7th Brian Horton (Whitehorse) – 4:06:38

8th Tedd Tucker (Whitehorse) – 4:09:24

9th Mike Berry (Leduc, Alta.) – 4:19:56

10th Alexander Weber (Whitehorse) – 4:20:52

Marathon women (42.2 km)

1st Denise McHale (Carcross) – 3:41:50

2nd Karen McColl (Whitehorse) – 4:49:16

3rd Mary Louisa Hewitt (Fairbanks) – 5:07:40

4th Bronwyn Benkert (Whitehorse) – 5:12:46

5th Janet Green (Courtenay, B.C.) – 5:12:58

6th Joanne VanBibber (Whitehorse) – 5:26:55

7th Trina Manac’h (Carcross) – 5:36:39

8th Maren Bradley (Whitehorse) – 5:49:23

9th Kristin Chislett (Whitehorse) – 5:51:51

10th Marie Claude Leroux (Carcross) – 5:53:49

Half marathon men (21 km)

1st Jonathan Zaugg (Whitehorse) – 1:33:28

2nd John Carson (Whitehorse) – 1:39:05

3rd Gregory Ablett (Edmonton) – 1:40:18

4th Yanik Freeman (Whitehorse) – 1:42:48

5th Brendan Morphet (Whitehorse) – 1:42:49

6th Logan Bennett (Invermere, B.C.) – 1:43:34

7th Tom Ullyett (Whitehorse) – 1:43:37

8th Matt Ordish (Whitehorse) – 1:49:28

9th Tyler Martin (Whitehorse) – 1:51:23

10th Elden Pfeiffer (Whitehorse) – 1:52:45

Half marathon women (21 km)

1st Lindsay Carson (Whitehorse) – 1:37:33

2nd Jody Eikelboom (Whitehorse) – 1:40:12

3rd Sandra Orban (Whitehorse) – 1:49:27

4th Virginia Sarrazin (Whitehorse) – 1:51:01

5th Shawna Smith (Brigden, Ont.) – 1:52:13

6th Catherine Lamarche (Dawson City) – 1:52:17

7th Alanna Hennessey (Whitehorse) – 1:53:18

8th Anett Kralisch (Whitehorse) – 1:57:34

9th Ema Allen (Whitehorse) – 1:59:05

10th Laura Salmon (Whitehorse) – 2:00:24

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