Whitehorse runner qualifies for Senior Olympics

After a decade away from competitive running, Whitehorse's Donna Jones is on track for another big season next year. Jones won three gold medals and a silver at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, this week.

After a decade away from competitive running, Whitehorse’s Donna Jones is on track for another big season next year.

Jones won three gold medals and a silver at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, this week.

Two of her times in the running events have qualified her for the Iowa Senior Olympic Games next year.

“I’m thrilled with that,” said Jones. “I’m considering it. Why not? It’s all fun.”

Jones, who was competing in the women 55-59 age group, captured gold in the 10-kilometre race with a time of 49 minutes and 13 seconds on Monday. She ended the Games with another gold in the five-kilometre race with a time of 24:16, a personal best “since I’ve come back to running,” said Jones. “I’m especially thrilled with it after running hard for the last three days.”

Her third gold came midweek in the 4×100 relay, teaming up with two Americans and another Canadian.

“There were two Canadians (on the team) so we considered ourselves an international team,” said Jones.

Jones also ran to silver in the 400-metre event. Making the silver extra special is the fact that, before this summer, she had never once raced on a track.

“I’ve never run on a track in my life and I’ve never had starting blocks and I don’t have the spiked shoes and all the technical stuff,” said Jones. “There are many serious people who just train for the sprints … Running my absolute hardest, wondering, ‘How the hell did they do that?’ They just explode off the starting blocks.”

Jones also placed fourth in the 200-metre sprint, but was towards the back of the pack in the 50- and 100-metre sprints.

It would seem, the longer the race, the better the result.

“I thought I’d give sprinting a try. I know now I’m not a sprinter,” said Jones. “I’m going to keep to distance lengths. I still might do some track, but they will all be over 400 (metres) from here on in. It really is a totally different sport for those short sprints.

“For me, running is going out on the trails at home and going for some nice long, slow distance stuff.

“I couldn’t imagine training on a track. Everyone is talking about moving indoors. It would be like doing laps in a swimming pool. For me, running is getting out and seeing things and going different places.”

Jones decided to give track a shot in St. George after a stellar performance at the Canada 55+ Games last month in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

In Sydney Jones won more medals than any other Yukon athlete, bagging seven medals, including four gold, in the 55-and-over division.

“I figured, if I’ve gone all that way … I would give track a try,” said Jones. “And I did well there. I just had a lot of fun. So I thought I’d like to try some of the shorter distances.”

Jones is one of three Whitehorse athletes competing at the Huntsman Games this week.

Cyclists Michael McCann and Bill Curtis are having their own successes.

McCann, who is making his 13th appearance at the Games, has won three medals in Division I for men 65-69.

He began by winning bronze in the hill climb and then won gold in the 20-kilometre time trial with a time of 28:15, a full minute ahead of the second-place rider.

“I set a course record,” said McCann. “It is a new course – there is that caveat. But I was the fastest person in the 20-kilometre overall.

“What was really impressive was the fact the Department of Transport blocked off an entire lane, out and back, for the time trial. On the four-lane highway they had cones set up, so the right-hand lane on the way out and on the way back was strictly for cyclists. It was truly impressive how they set that up.”

McCann made it three in a row with a bronze in the criterium race on Thursday.

Curtis, who is in Division II for men 60-64, had his best result on Thursday, placing fourth in the criterium, missing the bronze by a wheel length.

“I surprised myself,” said Curtis of the result.

He also claimed 13th in the hill climb and 10th in the 40-kilometre time trial.

“As long as I’m not going backwards, I feel good about it,” said Curtis. “It’s a positive experience.”

The two cyclists will finish the Games on Friday with 62-kilometre road race, an event in which McCann took gold and Curtis took bronze last year.

“I’ve been so inspired here,” added Jones. “They actually had a category of 95-99 in the men’s events. In the 90-94 there were four guys and had real competition going on.

“It’s completely inspiring to be around people who continue to compete and have fun and are doing it for the right reasons.

“I haven’t competed much in the past 10 years; I just came back into it in the past year and found some balance. I was taking it way too serious before.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


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

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read