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Yukon Arctic Ultra 100-mile race concludes. 300-mile racers march on

300-mile race leader sets blistering pace to Carmacks, held up as organizers assess ice safety

The 2024 Yukon Arctic Ultra is underway, with most of the field in the 100-mile race to Braeburn finished and the 300-mile event bound for Pelly Crossing making good progress. By Feb. 7, three days after the race started, it was clear that the Ultra would have to make similar course adjustments seen by the Yukon Quest dog-sled race earlier this week.

The race departed Shipyards Park in Whitehorse on Feb. 4. Its marathon run out to Muktuk Adventures wrapped that same day while the racers on foot, skis or fat-tire mountain bikes kept going for finish lines in Braeburn or Pelly Crossing on the 100 and 300-mile routes.

At the start line checking her gear alongside the other racers was Teri Polesky from northern Ontario, who had been in two 100-mile Arctic Ultras before but was taking on the 300-miler for the first time. Gesturing to her sled, Poleski said she had been training by pulling it long distances to prepare for the 300-mile race.

Also gearing up to start was Alex de Sain of the Netherlands, who was beginning his third attempt at the 100-mile Arctic Ultra. De Sain had scratched twice before, once due to an overloaded sled and once due to an unexpected injury sustained getting out of the way of a snowmobile last year.

“Every year, you get smarter. You know more, what you’re getting in,” he said.

“The first time, you don’t know what you don’t know.”

De Sain said he had been training hard in preparation but recognized that, in the Yukon’s winter conditions, each year presented a different challenge.

The mood was buzzing as the sun rose, and the racers left the start line together, travelling up the frozen fringe of the Yukon River.

Scott Herron and Ric Horobin, both on bikes, were the first and second overall finishers in the 100-miler. Herron did it in 21 hours and 52 minutes, while Horobin followed a little less than eight hours later. Elise Zender was fastest on foot, crossing in 30 hours and 38 minutes.

Three of the 15 entrants in the 100-mile race scratched on the course while the rest finished.

The 300-mile racers have either scratched or are still out on the course. The Arctic Ultra’s website shows a total of 10 scratches, with Polesky and Whitehorse local Jeff Larsen among them.

The route for the 300-mile race includes the area that the Yukon Quest had to truck mushers and their dogs past earlier this week. The Quest had to make this move after open water was discovered on the Yukon River between Carmacks and McCabe Creek. Quest teams were ultimately trucked to McCabe Creek to continue up the river.

Ultra race organizer Robert Pollhammer posted to the race’s Facebook page on the the morning of Feb. 7 to state that the Ultra would be undergoing a similar route change due to conditions.

Leading the pack of the racers remaining on the course is Jovica Spajic of Serbia, who set a blistering pace to Carmacks, arriving there at around 11 p.m. on Feb. 6. According to an update posted by race organizers in the early morning hours of Feb. 7, Spajic was getting some unexpected rest in Carmacks as the open water situation ahead was being assessed. Pollhammer said that Spajic would be the first shuttled to McCabe Creek to recommence the race.

At press time, Daniel Benhammou was in second place about nine miles out of Carmacks, and Josh Nakel was in third, having passed the Mandanna Lake checkpoint.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect more accurate information received through the race’s tracking system regarding finishers and scratched racers

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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