Despite having some of Yukon’s top runners, four leg-wins along the way and a runner posting the fastest pace for females, Whitehorse team “Running Home to Yukon Brewing” was unable to pull off the upset in the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay.
The brew crew placed second for mixed teams and second overall behind powerhouse “Team Elite — TNP” of Anchorage in the 33rd annual relay on Saturday.
“I think all the way through people performed at or above expectation. I expected our team to take 12 and a half hours and we came in at 12:17,” said Running Home captain David Eikelboom.
“A lot of people stayed up through the night and supported each other and we had a lot of fun.”
Team Elite placed first overall in the event that had a record field of 198 teams with 1,870 runners and walkers. They finished the 176.5-kilometre trek from Skagway to Whitehorse in 11 hours, nine minutes and 23 seconds, about 14 minutes from the division record the team set last year under the name Team Raven: Take No Prisoners. Anchorage’s Chad Trammell posted an event-best pace of 17.5 km/h on Leg 5.
“A lot of the team was coming off injury, so we went out there, worked hard and we weren’t too far off of (last year’s record time),” said Elite captain Corbyn Jahn. “We had a good time and it was a fantastic race.
“It’s such a fun event, the 15 hours of driving is worth it.”
Running Home to Yukon Brewing, which had seven returnees from last year’s team, crossed the finish line in 12:17:17 to place second for the second year in a row.
Eikelboom set the second fastest pace in the race at 17.4 km/h and won Leg 9. Teammate Lindsay Carson set the fastest pace for women at 15.4 km/h and won Leg 10 for women. Leadoff runner Willie Bell won Leg 1 and teammate Brittany Pearson won Leg 5 for women.
“It went well. We had a couple people who really shone on their legs, like Willie on Leg 1. He just crushed it. I expected him to be eight minutes slower than he was,” said Eikelboom.
While Running Home took second place, seven other Whitehorse teams ran home to division wins.
Whitehorse’s Aggressive Nonchalance took the open division with a time of 12:31:09 and was third overall. The team contained numerous members of the former Whitehorse team Scarecrow, the first Canadian team to win the overall title in 17 years in 2010 before winning it four straight times.
“It kind of came together at the last minute. A lot of the guys who raced with the Scarecrow team the last few years weren’t able to do it this year,” said captain Colin Abbott. “We weren’t sure how fast a team it was and didn’t want to call it Scarecrow.
“We put in a team this year without any expectations to win, but mostly to put a good team together and have fun doing it.”
Abbott and teammate Simon Lapointe won Legs 2 and 7, respectively, helping their team take a 10-plus minute lead over Running Home to Yukon Brewing before the brew squad turned it up in the final legs.
“I’d like see a return of the Scarecrow team, personally. I think it would be great to have all the fastest runners in Whitehorse together again because I think we can really challenge the Anchorage team,” said Abbott.
Whitehorse’s Baby Blue team is fast on skis, bikes and in sneakers. The team, made up of members of the Yukon Ski Team and Biathlon Yukon’s Velocity Squad, took first in the youth division in record time. They finished the race from Carcross to Whitehorse in 5:27:52, cutting more than 20 minutes off the record set last year. (All records do not include years 1983-1986.)
“This spring when we did the (Kluane Chilkat) bike relay we also won (for youth) and it was almost the same people,” said Baby Blue runner Sasha Masson.
“It went great. We didn’t expect to win because we didn’t start out in the first position. We trailed until (Leg) 7b when Romeo (Champagne) made a comeback and passed a whole bunch of teams. Then the lead kept getting bigger and bigger until the end when we had almost a 12-minute lead.”
Baby Blue’s Champagne and Derek Dueling were fastest on their legs 7b and 9a. Also running on the team were Jude Slater, Jamie Phillips-Freedman, Ben Puskas, Victor Thibeault and Nichollis Schmidt.
Whitehorse teams won two of three masters divisions.
Quantum Running Machines won masters women with a time of 15:50:56. The team consisted of Yolande Cherepak, Karen Loos, Nancy Thomson, Joanne VanBibber-Widrig, Christine Smith, Sue Bogle, Polly Thorp, Sandra MacDougall, Josie Martin and Tamara Goeppel.
Shier Law Runners won the masters open at 14:24:18. The team — Don White, Tom Ullyett, Thomas Tetz, John Carson, Jerome McIntyre, Bill Matiation, Afan Jones, Doug Mayr, Dan Shier and Dominic Bradford — placed 11th overall out of 169 full-distance teams, including seven that did not finish.
Whitehorse’s The New Thirty placed third in the masters mixed division behind Juneau and Anchorage teams. Eileen Melnychuk, Lenore Morris, Jenny Charchun, Art Webster, Charles Furchner, Lee Malanchuk, Stephanie Schorr, Michael Nadeau, Peggy Dorosz and Patsy Stehr finished in 19:29:53 for the third place spot.
Whitehorse teams took all three podium spots in the four-leg walker division with the Claim Cafe Caffeinators on top. Glenys Baltimore, Jane Haydock, Bonnie Love and John Storms finished the walk from Carcross in 8:22:07, breaking a 2007 record by over five minutes.
Whitehorse’s Wobbly Walkers placed first in the eight-leg walking division. Melanie Harris, Greta Gray, Judy Tomlin, Anne Kinsey-Jansen, Joanne Davignon, Glenda Eberlein, Rose Anne Anttila and Kelly Kushniruk finished in 10:14:31.
Whitehorse’s Erica Van Vlack ran home from Carcross in 7:23:06 to take first in the ultra division, in which she was the only racer.
Whitehorse’s Sourdough Sisters came third behind two other teams mostly from Toronto in the women’s division with a time of 15:57:29.
“I was surprised to be top three. It was just fun to do it, get out and run,” said captain Brittany Craigen.
Three Vancouver teams crowded the podium in the corporate division.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com