Youth runners turn out big time for XC championships

The future of cross-country running in the territory looks bright. There were a lot of young up-and-comers at a wet and cold edition of the Yukon Cross Country Championships.

The future of cross-country running in the territory looks bright.

There were a lot of young up-and-comers at a wet and cold edition of the Yukon Cross Country Championships at the Mount McIntyre ski trails on Sunday.

There were more youth division runners at the championship than in at least a dozen years. (Athletics Yukon’s records go back to 2002.)

Sunday’s turnout included 29 youth and just four adults. It’s quite a reversal from five years ago, when 22 adults and six children raced the championship. Only five junior runners took to the trails at last year’s championship.

Helping boost junior numbers were members of Cross Country Yukon’s Purple Squad cross-country ski youth team who competed, many donning purple outfits and capes.

“Maybe the weather scared a few people away, but it’s always cross-country if there’s rain and cold,” said Maura Sullivan. “I also like to run to set an example for my kids because … Noah was in the Purple Squad and ran today and my other two boys ran the one-kilometre, but it’s nice for them to see the other adults run today. That was my main motivation today.”

Sullivan was the only adult female to race on Sunday. She finished the six-kilometre course in 30 minutes and 37 seconds to bag the Yukon title. She won the open women’s title 2011 and 2012, with three other open competitors in the latter.

“It felt good. Feels like it was harder than it should be,” said Sullivan. “I’m a little bit out of shape, but it was good, I’m glad I raced. I just had my fourth child in February, so I’m just starting to run again.”

So few adults came out on Sunday, there were no open men or women (20-34). Scott Williams was the fastest male on the eight-kilometre course, winning the 35-55 division with a time of 36:54. Ben Yu Schott, in the same division, came second at 44:26.

“It felt great. The cool weather helps,” said Williams. “I didn’t really know what to expect because all the trails are kind of different each year … But I feel good about it.”

The championships also saw one of Yukon’s newest celebrities take part. Darby McIntyre, who last week was named to Team Canada for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games next year, finished the four-kilometre course in 18:02 and won the 15-and-under male division. He won the boys 12-13 division last year.

The dreary weather didn’t bother him much.

“When you start running, it gets pretty warm,” said McIntyre. “I’m still warm right now.”

McIntyre, who won two silver at the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in July, would pick up his pace whenever another runner was closing in, he said.

“Why I kept doing that was whenever I heard somebody behind me, it made me go faster because I wanted to lose them.”

“I kept up with Darby for the two laps he did and I had a heck of a time keeping up with him,” said Williams. “He’s really fast … I was honoured to keep an Olympian in sight, even though he was disappearing all the time.”

Luke Cozens also did his best to hold off the competition. He was fastest overall on the one-kilometre course, by just three seconds, with a time of 4:22.

“It was good. It wasn’t that hard,” said the eight-year-old. “It was wet. It was kind of stressful because that girl (Constance LaPointe) was right behind me the whole time.”

“It’s fun and I like it. My family is a running family except for (brother) Dylan and my dad.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Male age 5 (1 km)

1st Gregory Freeman – 7:46

Male age 6 (1 km)

1st Nicolas Freeman – 6:28

Male age 8 (1 km)

1st Luke Cozens – 4:22

2nd Simon Connell – 4:55

Female age 9 (1 km)

1st Constance LaPointe – 4:25

2nd Lisa Freeman – 4:50

Male age 10-11 (2 km)

1st Thomas Bakica – 10:15

2nd Connor Cozens – 10:57

3rd Cutis Cash – 10:58

4th Sullivan Bond – 11:40

5th Isidore Champagne – 11:53

6th Oscar Setterington – 13:07

7th Anakin Gibson – 13:08

8th Noah Connell – 13:14

9th Robin Elliott – 13:15

10th Aleix Sarin-Toews – 15:09

11th Ross Sennett – 22:26

12th Metthias Schmidt – 22:09

Female age 10-11 (2 km)

1st Kate Mason – 11:24

2nd Veronica Porter – 11:33

3rd Maude Mogat – 11:40

Solstice Toews (coach) – 12:22

4th Ava Jampulsky – 13:16

5th Bella Mouchet – 13:17

6th Ava Milner – 15:45

7th Gabrielle Perrault – 17:05

8th Isla Hupe – 17:06

9th Ava Irving-Staly – 17:07

Female age 12 (4 km)

1st Dahlia LaPointe – 24:37

Male age 15 (4 km)

1st Darby McIntyre – 18:02

Male age 35-55 (8 km)

1st Scott Williams – 36:54

2nd Ben Yu Schott – 44:26

Female age 35-55 (6 km)

1st Maura Sullivan – 30:37

Male age 56-65 (6 km)

1st Tom Ullyett – 29:49