Two runners finish new 175 kilometre ultra category

Four registered. Three started. Two finished.

Four registered. Three started. Two finished.

That, in a nutshell, is the story of Trail of 98 Ultra, the new category added this year to the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay.

It’s not for new runners. It’s the full Monty: all 10 legs in the 175-kilometre race from Skagway to Whitehorse – all in one go.

Three attempted the first installment of the ultra this past weekend and two finished, arm in arm, tying for first.

Juneau runners Klas Stolpe and Houston Laws finished the trek just under a day with a time of 23:34:34.

“I called my friend Houston and said, ‘I’m signing you up,’ because I need someone to help me get through it,” said Stolpe. “Houston Laws already ran four 100s this year – it’s called the Alaska Slam – and he’s a good friend of mine. I signed him up, paid his way and everything. I said, ‘This is the deal, you make sure I get through this.’”

People weren’t sure if anyone would finish the ultra. When the announcer told the crowd at the finish line the two were coming in, spectators flooded the finish area to cheer them on loudly.

They didn’t look in bad shape, either. Stolpe even hung around for the award ceremony that took place three hours after he finished. He wasn’t sure where Laws disappeared to, but the safe money was on bed.

“I never thought I’d get through it,” said Stolpe. “But it’s funny, your body can just keep going.”

Stolpe, 55, and Laws, 29, had a lot of strategy set. They dressed as light as conditions allowed, didn’t carry anything, walked some uphills and their support vehicle stopped ahead of them every five or so kilometres. They never stopped to sleep.

Stolpe and Law set the goal of running 13-minute miles (eight-minute kilometres) from start to finish.

“I’m a speed runner – I’ve actually won two legs of this race before,” said Stolpe. “You say you want to go 13 minutes, but my body wants to go seven or eight.

“That’s a whole new ball game because you get a new gait, a new stride, new movements, new pain.

“At one in the morning I thought I had hit the wall. I didn’t want water or anything – nothing in my mouth tasted good at all. But you just keep going and it got better.”

The other runner to attempt the ultra was Chicago’s Wil Kidnew, who scratched during the race. Whitehorse’s Keith Thaxter registered for the ultra, but withdrew before the start.

Stolpe, who is the sports editor for the Juneau Empire, was inspired to run the ultra after the death of Alaska running guru Glenn Frick, who passed away this spring at the age of 75. Frick ran the relay 20 times between 1983-2013, was on six winning teams over that time and was a founder of the Smokin’ Ole Geezers masters team, an institution in relay.

“I’ve never done an organized marathon or 50K or anything, but I fell in with a good group of runners in Juneau and we do a lot of things in the mountains, lots of long runs,” said Stolpe. “One of them was Glenn Frick, a good friend – I actually wrote a couple stories about how he helped me get out of the mountains a couple of times. And when he passed, I figured it would be fitting to do what he did every year, but try to do the whole thing in his honour.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen


Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Most Read