Considering it’s a 1,600-kilometre race, a tie for first place seems highly unlikely, to say the least. However, two teams shared the top-spot in the Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race, paddling from Whitehorse past Eagle, Alaska, to the Dalton Highway Bridge.
“First of all, we weren’t expecting them to finish in six days—that’s unbelievable,” said Thomas Coates, who organized the race with his father Peter. “That’s surprising that they finished so close together. When you’re in such a long race, it’s quite lonely—it’s a 1,000 miles of almost no civilization—and it’s a standard tactic to draft behind the team in front.
“At the finish there’s two options, either you can sprint to the finish or you can admit, ‘We’ve been doing this for a while and are completely exhausted.’ So they were on good terms with the boat they were with, so why not share the honours.”
The race’s first-ever winners, Team Hendron and After the Gold Rush, completed the first annual race in just six days, two hours, 11 minutes and seven seconds. The two teams, both in kayaks, are from Richmond Kayak Club in England. Taking third was All the Way 2 from the United Kingdom, also in the kayak class.
The race’s first non-kayak entry to finish was the only voyageur canoe, Yukon Voyageur, from the US. There were no Yukon teams entered.
“We certainly had more teams in the field than we would expect for the inaugural race,” said Coates. “Since the start of the race, I’ve received a number of phone calls and e-mails from people interested in entering next year’s race.
“So I have no doubt the field will be bigger next year.”
The Yukon 1000 is the longest canoe and kayak race in the world, surpassing the Yukon River Quest that also begins in Whitehorse but ends in Dawson City.
As of Tuesday morning, 11 of the race’s 15 remaining teams had completed the course. Since beginning on July 20, only two teams have dropped out, one from a pre-existing medical condition and another simply because they were enjoying the river so much they wanted to take their time.
“They’ve chosen to become tourists,” said Coates.
Also new to the Yukon’s paddling community is the first annual Yukon 360 starting on August 15. This year’s 360 will be from Johnson’s Crossing to Carmacks.
“It’s geared a lot more towards the local paddling community on the grounds that it is on Discovery Days weekend, so locals have that Monday off,” said Coates.
More information on both races can be found at www.yukon1000.com.
Contact Tom Patrick at