A new half-marathon will take up the mantle of running events held on, or around, the solstice. The Southern Lakes Half Marathon 2021 presented by Athletics Yukon will be held on June 19th.
The date and location are set, however, Don White with Athletics Yukon said they are still awaiting the all-clear from medical officials.
“It depends on whether the medical officer of health lets us hold it or not,” said White. “We got a note today (May 25) asking more questions with some hypotheticals and stuff but it should be a go, let’s put it that way.”
To adhere to the COVID-19 rules, at the time of organizing, the event is for 45 Athletics Yukon members. The half-marathon will adhere to COVID rules for safe sport and Yukon’s safe six plus one.
Having a running race on or around the solstice has become a tradition in the territory.
“We’ve been doing marathons on or around the solstice in June since the late 1980s,” said White. “They went under different names. When the crew that started doing the organizing of the Trail Marathon got going, they switched their date opening up the solstice date and Mayo took it on.”
White said the Mayo Midnight Marathon took place around the solstice for a number of years and when organizers stopped, another race called the Dempster to Dawson Marathon filled the date. Now that the race in Dawson is no longer run, White said Athletics Yukon is filling in so there is still a race around the solstice.
They opted to only have a half-marathon because it is easier to organize.
“We are doing it this year as a half and we will continue to do it as a half possibly,” said White. “We will find out after this year if it is a success and if it has not been a success then I suspect doing the Southern Lakes half would not happen again.”
White said he hopes the Southern Lakes Half Marathon doesn’t become a one-off, but said in the Whitehorse area, he can’t see another marathon happening since the Yukon River Trail Marathon happens six weeks after.
In the fall, Athletics Yukon put out a survey to its membership.
“We asked people what they wanted,” said White. “What they wanted was to compete against each other, not virtually, but in person.”
The half marathon will begin and end at Southern Lakes Resort. Athletes in the race will travel 10 kilometres down the gravel road before turning around and heading back to the resort.
Contact John Tonin at firstname.lastname@example.org