Young first timer wins River Trail Marathon

In his first time running a full marathon, Whitehorse's Logan Roots not only won the race, he came within five minutes of the course record set last year by Anchorage's Matias Saari.

In his first time running a full marathon, Whitehorse’s Logan Roots not only won the race, he came within five minutes of the course record set last year by Anchorage’s Matias Saari.

The 19-year-old crossed the finish line in two hours, 50 minutes and 26 seconds to win the 2012 Yukon River Trail Marathon in Whitehorse on Sunday.

“All the way through I felt good,” said Roots. “It was a long buildup to the last five kilometres, and then at the last five kilometres I was like, ‘OK, I’m still feeling good.’”

With his time, Roots completed the 42.2-kilometre course more than 23 minutes faster than second place’s Bryan Hitchcock from Juneau.

“It’s not going to be won or lost in the first five kilometres, so I started slow and built up my pace,” said Roots.

RELATED:See full results here.

Roots represented the Yukon in track at the 2009 Canada Summer Games and the 2011 Western Canada Games. He won three golds and a silver in snowshoeing at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games. While attending school on Vancouver Island last year, Roots won five races in the Island Series, earning him a top ranking in the 16-to-19 age division.

Last fall he won the 19-and-under, half-distance division of the Victoria Marathon, placing 18th overall out of 5,147 runners.

“I don’t think I’ll be trying a full marathon on the road anytime soon,” said Roots. “I like trail running and I love running far, so it was good to do the first one on the trail.”

By distance – not age category – every division was won by a Whitehorse runner with the exception of the women’s full marathon.

Anchorage’s Abby Rideout took the honour, completing the course in 3:35:27.

“It was great. Beautiful trails, great people, lots of volunteers – a very fun race,” said Rideout. “Ten years ago, I did a couple of marathons – it’s been a while.”

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Rideout, who was in the race for the first time, was fourth overall in the marathon distance behind the top three men finishers.

The top Yukon finisher in the women’s marathon was Whitehorse’s Piia Kukka in second. Kukka finished fourth in the women’s half marathon last year.

“I’m still shocked,” said Kukka an hour after finishing. “That was my first marathon ever and I was so nervous last night that my stomach was bugging me and I was thinking I was not going to make it. I haven’t been running the last two weeks because I hurt my ankle while I was hiking.

“The run went perfect. I never felt tired at any point. People left me behind on the first five kilometres, but as soon as I got on the trail, that’s when I started to pass people. I kept a steady pace from start to finish.”

Whitehorse’s Ian Parker has the world’s smallest running coach to thank for winning the half-marathon distance on Sunday. He has been doing less cycling and more running since having a baby with his wife in the fall.

“Normally I’d be riding my bike this time of year, but I had a little one in the fall, so I’ve been doing more running this year,” said Parker. “In most of my training runs I’m pushing the stroller with my little guy. Maybe it’s good resistance training.”

Parker’s first-ever half-marathon win came with a time of 1:28:41. In second was two-time Whitehorse Triathlon champ Joel Macht at 1:30:00.

Lauren Whyte is new to Whitehorse, but she’s already made a name for herself in local running circles.

In addition to winning every Athletics Yukon weekly run she’s been in this summer, she was the fastest woman in the half distance event.

“I love it; I love the trails,” said Whyte, a first-time runner in the event. “It’s beautiful. I love running along the river as well.”

Whyte, who moved to Whitehorse from Vancouver in June, also finished first for females in the Mount Lorne Misadventure a couple weeks ago. In 2007 she won the five-kilometre distance at the Quebec University Cross-Country Championships while on the track team at McGill University in Montreal.

Racing to first in the mixed team relay were Maura Sullivan and Peter Sullivan in a time of 3:05:08. Maura won the women’s category at the Yukon Cross-Country Championships and the Whitehorse Triathlon last year.

In the female team division, Virginia Sarrazin and Amil Dupuis-Rossi outpaced 18 other teams with a time of 3:46:24.

This year’s marathon featured 287 participants, including four walkers and 45 relay teams.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com