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Uphill battle at Yukon XC championships

On the same day Kenya's Kenneth Mungara set a Canadian marathon record in Toronto, Whitehorse residents went for their own records at the Yukon Cross-Country Championship, put on by Athletics Yukon on Sunday.

On the same day Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara set a Canadian marathon record in Toronto, Whitehorse residents went for their own records at the Yukon Cross-Country Championship, put on by Athletics Yukon on Sunday.

Although it has been the same course used for years, even repeat runners were grumbling about the amount of uphill in the 1.8-kilometre loop that made up the course at Mt. McIntyre.

“I was wheezing quite a bit on these hills,” said Shane Carlos, 27, winner of the open men’s (20-39 years) race.

“I haven’t been doing too much running so I’m kind of hurting right now, getting into shape,” said Carlos. “I’m using it as a building race, to build my fitness this season.”

Carlos, who recently returned to Whitehorse after years away for school at UBC, finished the nine-kilometre open men’s course with a time of 31 minutes and 45 seconds, more than a minute faster than second-place Rodney Hulstein and third-place Brent Langbakk.

The steepness of the two long hills on the course becomes apparent exponentially as the race goes on, said master men 2 (50-59 years) winner Tom Ullyett.

“The course is tougher than you think,” he said. “In your mind you think it’s not too bad, there’s a hill here a few hundred metres

down and the last few hundred metres is uphill, but in your mind you don’t always multiply it by four or five times.

“So the first two laps: not a problem. But the third lap (you think), ‘I don’t know how much fun this really is.’ Fourth and fifth lap (you think), ‘Let’s just get it done.’

“If you’re trying to pass someone in the last few hundred metres, you really have to have some gas in the tank.”

For the women’s 5.4-kilometre course, the fastest time actually was not posted by the open women’s winner, Eva Slana, with a time of 29:09, but by master women 1 (35 to 44 years) winner, Sue Bogle, with a time of 25:11.

“I am coming off a bit of a flu, so it wasn’t my best race,” said Bogle, who won her category last year as well. “You can’t compare it to anything, really, there’s a lot of uphill. I wouldn’t compare it to the Tuesday night runs.

“It’s a nice course and that’s what you expect from trails around here.”

Bogle has had a successful year in running, also having won the women’s half-marathon in this year’s Yukon River Trail Marathon at the start of last month. Just a couple weeks ago she won leg six in the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay. And earlier in the summer she also won the Chocolate Claim 10-Miler and the Mayo Marathon.

“So it’s been a good season,” said Bogle. “I tried to do a lot of racing and my kids are getting into it too, so I enjoy seeing them run.”

In fact, Bogle’s son, Dylan Cozens, beat out one other rider to win the eight-year-old boys’ division on Sunday, outpacing his friend Ben Shier with a time of 8:53 over 1.8 kilometres.

“He said, ‘I only have to run one lap - that was easy,’” said Bogle.

Participation at the championships was up this year, going from 15 runners last year to 26 on Sunday. Last year’s turnout was so low that seven of the event’s 10 divisions had single runners entered, such as the open men’s division, run by Langbakk all by his lonesome last September. This year, seven runners raced in the open men’s and only three had single entries.

One such division was the 10-year-old division, won by Hannah Shier, running 3.6-kilometres in 18:12. Completing a lap with her dog, Shier said she had a good race, but also had gripes with the hills.

“It was a little bit cold, but otherwise it was good,” said Shier. “I think that’s not too short and not too long.

“Going up the (first) hill was challenging.”

At the championships some were discussing the upcoming Royal Victoria Marathon taking place in two weeks in Victoria, BC. As many as 60 Yukoners may be signed up for that event’s marathon, half-marathon, eight-kilometre road race and the kids’ marathon events.

“I’ve heard 50 or 60 - can you imagine 60 Yukoners all going in the Victoria Marathon?” said Ullyett.

Perhaps one of the last times for runners to get in a group run before Victoria will be on Tuesday as Athletics Yukon holds its final event of the season, the Last Intersport Fun Run/Walk, starting in the FH Collins Secondary School parking lot at 6:30 p.m.


Open men (9km) 

1st Shane Carlos - 31:45

2nd Rodney Hulstein - 32:52

3rd Brent Langbakk - 33:01

4th Petr Polivka - 37:18

5th Luke Carlos - 38:02

6th Jan Polivka - 38:48

7th Patrick Anderson - 44:38

Master men 1 (7.2km)

1st Dan Shier - 29:22  

2nd Terry Boone - 36:47

Master men 2 (7.2km)

1st Tom Ullyett - 29:40

2nd Scott Gilbert - 30:26

3rd Don White - 32:3

4th Claude Chabot - 37:05

Master men 3 (7.2km)

1st Bob Bowerman - 35:02

Open women (5.4km)

1st Eva Slana - 29:09

2nd Helena Hrubesova - 31:52

Master women 1 (5.4km)

1st Sue Bogle - 25:11

2nd Megan Phillips - 29:34

3rd Tracey Taylor - 30:54

Master women 2 (5.4km)

1st Barbara Sheck - 29:38

2nd Jeannie Burke - 29:59

13-year-old girls (3.6km)

1st Sarah Burke-Forsyth - 21:38

2nd Galena Roots - 21:38

10-year-old girls (3.6km)

1st Hannah Shier - 18:12

14-year-old boys (3.6km)

1st Aidan Bradley - 17:45

Eight-year-old boys (1.8km)

1st Dylan Cozens - 8:53

2nd Ben Shier - 9:08

Contact Tom Patrick at