For a second year in a row, an Anchorage team took the overall win in the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay.
But Whitehorse teams still produced wins in seven divisions at the 33rd annual event that began in Skagway Friday and ended in Whitehorse Saturday.
Anchorage’s Team Raven: Take No Prisoners placed first overall ahead of two Whitehorse teams that battled hard for the No. 2 spot.
Team Raven, which won overall last year as an open team, won this year as a mixed team in record time. The team beat a 20-year-old mixed record, completing the 176.5-kilometre journey in 10 hours, 56 minutes and 36 seconds.
Whitehorse’s Eikelboom Physiotherapy, a new mixed team entered this year, placed second overall at 12:00:36.
“Take No Prisoners had some real ringers this year,” said Physiotherapy captain David Eikelboom. “(Raven’s) Jacob Kirk, who did Leg 5, he ran a 2:33 marathon earlier this year and clearly has a lot of speed in his legs. (Raven’s) Yon Yilma actually won the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in Seattle this year in a 2:29. Those guys were just incredibly fast.
“Now we’re seeing guys coming up who are outstanding runners and I think that’s good. It raises the profile.”
Kirk and Yilma finished first and second in average pace, finishing their legs with speeds of 11.3 and 11.0 miles per hour, respectively.
But the Eikelboom squad had some fast legs too. Eikelboom and teammate Logan Roots tied for third in pace at 10.6 miles per hour. Roots won Leg 4, Eikelboom placed second on Leg 5, and teammates Amelia Fraser and Lindsay Carson won their legs for females.
Eikelboom Physiotherapy, which included Jody Eikelboom, Kathleen Hale, Luke Carlos, Anett Kralish, Rodney Hulstein and Shane Carlos, needed that speed to be the first Whitehorse team in.
Whitehorse’s Scarecrow team was hot on their heels, reaching the finish 12:04:13 to take third overall and first in the open category.
“It all went really well. It was a pretty tight race ... It was certainly one of the most exciting races I’ve had the opportunity of witnessing - participating in,” said Scarecrow captain Simon Lapointe. “We finished third behind David Eikelboom’s team and it we were pretty close the whole race, so that made it pretty a entertaining event.”
The Scarecrow team built a 15-minute lead over the Eikelboom squad by the end of Leg 3. The Eikelboomers took the lead on Leg 5 but dropped it again before the all-important Leg 10.
“Lindsay really put down a good run, but it was really Shane who put the nail in the coffin,” said David. “(Scarecrow’s) Ray Sabo left with a 2:55 lead. We were giving splits ... and Shane was just carving time off that lead. At the Miles Canyon turnoff, Shane had caught Ray and just continued to put the pedal down and opened up another few minutes to the finish.”
Scarecrow was the first Canadian team to win the open division in 17 years in 2010 and held the title until placing second last year to Team Raven. The team, which included Stephen Waterreus, Dave Brook, Colin Abbott, Brent Langbakk and David Greer, took on some young cross-country skiers this year with new members Simon Cash, Michael Kischuk and Caelan Pangman McLean.
“We had a lot of new runners this year, quite a few of young guys too coming in to lend us a hand from the ski team,” said Lapointe. “They did pretty well and I was happy with their performance.”
“I’m sure glad we were able to keep it going this year and hopefully we’ll have another Scarecrow team next year,” he added.
Whitehorse’s Fireballs burned up the pavement in this year’s race. After placing third last year, the team took first in the women’s category with a time of 15:03:18. On the team were Leyla Weston, Debbie Higgins, Leslie Doran, Shaunagh Stikeman, Aisha Montgomery, Maggie Brook, Maura Sullivan, Manon Desforges, Nathalie Dugas and Denise McHale, who won Leg 6 for females.
Team Raven wasn’t the only record breaking team of the race.
Whitehorse’s Kluane Drilling Road Runners won the youth division, leaving the record in their wake. The team of Sawyer Adams, Luke Cozens, Ben Kishchuk, Neil Mikkelsen, Thomas Bakica, Connor Cozens, Naoise Dempsey and Isaac Obrien finished the trek from Carcross to Whitehorse in 5:48:58, cutting 38 seconds off the previous record set in 2013.
Whitehorse’s Cabriolet Xcelerators made it five in a row on Saturday. The team of Tom Ullyett, Dan Shier, Brendan Hanley, Bill Matiation, Keith Thaxter, Ryan Leef, Don White, Jerome McIntyre, Thomas Tetz and John Carson won the masters open division a fifth straight year, coming in fifth overall at 13:05:18. Juneau’s C. C. Striders, the only other team in the category, came in well back at 15:34:18.
Charlie’s Angels are also building a dynasty. The Whitehorse team of Polly Thorp, Nancy Thomson, Karen Loos, Pauline Frost-Hanberg, Tamara Goeppel, Joanne VanBibber-Widrig, Cheryl Klippert, Josie Martin, Polly Thorp and Sandra Orban won the masters women’s division a third straight year at 16:32:27.
Whitehorse’s Westmark Warrior Walkers not only had alliteration, they had speed. Catherine Simpson, Nick McKenna, Bonnie Love and John Storms took first in the walkers division with a time of 8:36:00.
Whitehorse’s Wobbly Walkers notched a first in the eight-stage walkers division. Melanie Harris, Greta Gray, Judy Tomlin, Kinsey-Jansen Anne, Joanne Davignon, Joanne Vandermeulen and Kelly Kushniruk came in at 10:20:27 for first.
Juneau’s Still Runnin’ with Glenn raced to first in the masters mixed division at 14:33:11. Salcha, Alaska’s Sir Lanserslot won the corporate division at 15:00:39.
A total of 1,657 runners and walkers (1,008 females and 649 males) took part in this year’s relay. Twenty-four of them will now have their names etched on the Senator’s Cup, which commemorates those who have completed all 10 legs.
Contact Tom Patrick at
Senator’s Cup entrants
Alison Sisson (Whitehorse)
Amanda Blackgoat (Juneau)
Angela Sabo (Whitehorse)
Brad Avery (Whitehorse)
Brian Goettler (Juneau)
Deah Sutton (Whitehorse)
Doug Riemer (Petersburg, Alaska)
Echo McDonald (Anchorage)
Elden Pfeiffer (Whitehorse)
Glenn Haight (Juneau)
Jenny Trapnell (Whitehorse)
Jim Marcotte (Juneau)
Kelly Choy (Whitehorse)
Kenji Tatsumi (Whitehorse)
Laura Orviss (Whitehorse)
Mark Connell (Whitehorse)
Mary Ann Ferguson (Whitehorse)
Monique Levesque (Whitehorse)
Nicole Hulstein (Whitehorse)
Rob Rees (Whitehorse)
Rob Haight (Juneau)
Thomas Tetz (Tagish)
Tracey Taylor (Whitehorse)
Zane Clark (Juneau)