Whitehorse runners Ray Sabo and Lauren Whyte had more than the sweets at the finish line on their minds while running in the Chocolate Claim Pre-Skagway 10 Miler, starting and ending in Rotary Park on Sunday.
Like many of the 42 runners, they were using this race to prepare for the 30th annual Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay in a little over a week.
Sabo and Whyte won the men’s and women’s divisions in the 10 Miler. Sabo captured the men’s title with a time of 1:01:45, while Whyte took the women’s in 1:14:06.
Sabo’s win – his first in the event – came despite being a little sleep deprived.
“I had a pretty busy weekend; I got back at four this morning from a wedding in Fairbanks,” said Sabo. “So I dragged myself out here and kept an even pace.
“Weddings are always exhausting.”
In second for the men was Mike Richards (1:02:01) in front of third place’s Dominic Bradford (1:02:39). Richards won the 2010 and 2011 Yukon River Trail Marathon and the half distance division in the Skagway Marathon in June.
Sabo is a member of Scarecrow, a Whitehorse running team going for their third straight win in the highly competitive open division in the Klondike relay.
In 2010, Scarecrow became the first Canadian team to win the division in 17 years. Anchorage’s Skinny Raven: Take No Prisoners team, which won the division the previous seven years, has been absent the last two years and are not registered for this year’s race.
“Actually, I’ve been looking every second day to see if they’ve signed up,” said Sabo. “Regardless if they’re in the race or not, we’re going to keep pushing because we always want to improve our leg times and overall times.”
On Scarecrow with Sabo are John Parry, David Greer, Knute Johnsgaard, Dave Brook, David Eikelboom, Fabian Brook, Colin Abbott, Simon Lapointe and Karl Blattmann, who finished fourth in the 10 Miler.
“Unfortunately Rodney Hulstein couldn’t be here for the race and Logan Roots had to go to school, so we got the best team we could round up from who was in town here,” said Sabo. “We’re going to make it an annual thing, keep it going. We’d like to improve our time every year.
“We’ve got a good group of guys and it should be pretty good.”
(Hulstein and Roots are two former members of Scarecrow. Hulstein won his third Yukon 10 Kilometre Road Race Championship last week and Roots won the Yukon River Trail Marathon earlier this month.)
Sabo, who won the open division at last year’s Yukon Cross-Country Championships and placed second at the Yukon 10 Kilometre Championships last week, won his legs of the Klondike relay the last two years. Last year he finished a five-year stint as a NCAA cross-country skier for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
It was Whyte’s first time in the 10-Miler on Sunday, having moved to Whitehorse from Vancouver in June.
Placing second for women was Janet Clarke (1:18:18) while Aisha Montgomery (1:19:18) seized third. Clarke was on the winning women’s team in the 2010 Klondike race.
“It was a beautiful day (but) I don’t like running on pavement, so it’s not my favourite race this season,” said Whyte. “But it’s good training for Skagway… There was good food at the end.”
Whyte, also running in her first Klondike road relay September 7-8, is on a newly formed women’s team called Ladies Worth Freezing For, an adaptation of the slogan of their sponsor Yukon Brewing.
“We’re running semi-competitively,” said Whyte. “We’re trying to win, but we might not.”
Though new to the territory, Whyte has already taken in a number of wins in the Yukon. She finished first in the open women’s half distance division at the Yukon River Trail Marathon at the start of the month. Whyte was also the top female runner at the Mount Lorne Misadventure in July.
In 2007, Whyte won the five-kilometre distance at the Quebec University Cross-Country Championships while on the track team at McGill University in Montreal.
Online registration for the Klondike race closed on Sunday with 142 teams entered.
1st Ray Sabo – 1:01:45
2nd Mike Richards – 1:02:01
3rd Dominic Bradford – 1:02:39
4th Karl Blattmann – 1:04:27
5th Tom Ullyett – 1:08:06
1st Lauren Whyte – 1:14:06
2nd Janet Clarke – 1:18:18
3rd Aisha Montgomery – 1:19:18
4th Laura Salmon – 1:20:39
5th Amy Riske – 1:20:53
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org