Men and women aren’t divided into separate divisions in dog-powered sports for a reason. Just look at the results from the 19th annual Carbon Hill Sled Dog Race on Saturday at the Mount Lorne Community Centre to see why.
Women won three out of the four distance races at the event. A female sledder also topped one out of the two children’s races.
After years of trying Martine LeLevier won the 30-mile dogsled race, “which is nice after so many times running it,” she said. “I had some trouble on (Annie Lake), so I didn’t expect to be first.”
LeLevier, who is from the Fox Lake area north of Whitehorse, completed the race in two hours, 46 minutes and 51 seconds, comfortably beating second place’s Jason Biasetti (3:01:22) and third’s Jo Van Randen (3:04:19).
RELATED:See more images of the race.
A humble LeLevier is quick to point out that Normand Casavant, who won the event the last two years, and Crispin Studer, who won it the three times before that, were both absent from Saturday’s race. Casavant and Studer are preparing for the Yukon Quest, which begins this Saturday.
“They are doing the vet check, which is probably why they’re not here,” said LeLevier. “But it was good for me! It gives me a chance to have my name on the trophy this year.”
LeLevier also placed second at the Yukon Brewing Twister race at the start of the month and fourth in the 2012 River Runner 100 last February. But the Carbon Hill race is different from the others, said LeLevier.
“Carbon Hill is a very friendly race and the trail is really interesting,” said LeLevier. “It’s not boring, it’s not all flat, it’s up and down and when you go on the lake you never know what to expect. So it’s always fun. Something’s going to happen but you just don’t know what.”
“I’m not really a racer, I just like to come and see people.”
Whitehorse’s Stefan Wackerhagen prevented the XX-chromosome sweep of the Carbon Hill distance races.
Wackerhagen won the 30-mile skijor race for a third consecutive year, but not by much. He completed the race in 2:50:40, just 19 seconds up from second place’s Cynthia Corriveau. Darryl Sheepway took third in 2:56:47.
“It was a close one,” said Wackerhagen, who ran three dogs. “I saw Cynthia on the lake, but it’s really hard to judge distances…
“I caught Darryl fairly early on. I stayed behind him on the lake because I thought I couldn’t break away from him on the flat – he runs four dogs. So I was behind him all the way on the lake, saw Cynthia way ahead of us, and when we got off the lake I passed Darryl.”
Wackerhagen set a record time of 2:46:55 last year. But high winds and minus 24 temperatures made that difficult this time.
“I have a new team and I was hoping to set a new record, or be really fast, but in this weather you’re just trying to survive,” said Wackerhagen.
He plans to do the River Runner 120 next month, but “if you asked me a half hour ago, I wasn’t sure,” said Wackerhagen.
For Whitehorse’s Mandy Pearson, racing at Carbon Hill was a blast from the past. So was winning.
Pearson topped the 10-mile dogsled race 13 years after first winning it.
“It was so long ago, I didn’t remember where the trail was,” said Pearson. “It was a long time ago. But it was cool to come back to run here again and see all the old faces. There were a lot of mushers I raced against in ‘95.”
Pearson pinned first with a time of 31:17, outpacing last year’s winner Dave Johnson (32:02) and third place’s Mathieu Devred (32:22).
It was Pearson’s third win in a row this season, having topped the first two Yukon Brewing Copper Haul Twister series races.
After second place finishes in 2005 and 2007, Whitehorse’s Jill Pangman was at the top of the six-mile skijor race.
“They aren’t sprint dogs, they’re just pets,” said Pangman. “But I go skijoring with them a lot.
“I do every type of skiing, whether it be downhill, back country, telemarking. But skijoring is my favourite.”
Pangman crossed the finish line with a time of 25:24. In second was Virgina Sarrazin at 26:13 and Valerie Bussieres came third at 27:21.
“It was colder than I thought,” said Pangman. “For the most part it was good. When we got out to Annie (Lake) it was open and the trail was quite windblown. You could still see the trail, but it was hard to skate ski.”
It was a family affair in the 200-metre kids sled race. Mackenzie Keefer beat her brother Harlan for the win. She placed second in the same event last year.
Seth Carey took back his 2011 title in the two-mile junior sled race.
No record times were set at this year’s Carbon Hill event.
30-mile dogsled (6-8 dogs)
1st Martine LeLevier – 2:46:51
2nd Jason Biasetti – 3:01:22
3rd Jo Van Randen – 3:04:19
4th Jonathon Lucas – 3:05:00
5th Marcelle Fressineau – 3:10:58
6th Will Van Randen – 3:11:59
7th Steve Gibbons – 3:14:54
8th Genesee Keevil – 3:18:20
9th Sophie Firmenich – 3:19:42
10th Alexandra Rochat – 3:28:13
11th Melissa Schenke – 3:39:59
12th Simi Morrison – 3:45:05
13th Kate Weekes – 3:49:45
14th Jacob Heigers – 3:52:28
30-mile skijor (2-4 dogs)
1st Stefan Wackerhagen – 2:50:40
2nd Cynthia Corriveau – 2:50:59
3rd Darryl Sheepway – 2:56:47
10-mile dogsled (4-6 dogs)
1st Mandy Pearson – 31:17
2nd Dave J ohnson – 32:02
3rd Mathieu Devred – 32:22
4th Jess Wood – 33:23
5th Armin Johnson – 33:53
6th Rachel Kinvig – 34:19
7th Bastien Ipas – 36:46
8th Jade Netzer – 38:05
9th Baptist Boheley – 40:53
10th Aaron Nicholson – 41:12
11th Martin Haefele – 46:00
12th Toma Uemwera – 44:24
13th Kris Kovacs – 48:16
14th Kat Wirth – 51:26
15th Christina Reeves – 56:04
16th Sara Best – 60:11
17th Janet Keller – 69:25
Six-mile skijor (2-4 dogs)
1st Jill Pangman – 25:24
2nd Virgina Sarrazin – 26:13
3rd Valerie Bussieres – 27:21
4th Heidi Marion – 27:59
5th Christel Bartczak – 28:11
6th Marie Royer – 30:01
7th Janet Keller – 36:50
8th Lynn Cheverie – 43:05
200-metre kids’ dogsled (1 dog)
1st Mackenzie Keefer – 1:41
2nd Harlan Keefer – 1:41
Two-mile junior dogsled (2-3 dogs)
1st Seth Carey – 17:30
Contact Tom Patrick at