Spring has sprung early this year for the Yukon Orienteering Association and brought along a new race series.
The season started on April 11 with the first in a series of five sprint races that make up the new Coast Mountain Sports Sprint Series.
Erik Blake, one of the series’ organizers, said the series championship will be determined by the racers’ top four finishes in the five races.
“Every race, depending on your finish time, you get a points score that is calculated by how much time you are behind the leader in your age category,” said Blake. “Then, over the course of the five races we total up your best four scores and that becomes your overall score for the series.”
Sprint events are typically three kilometres in length and happen in urban environments — much shorter than the middle- and long-distance races typically held in the Yukon. Additionally, rather than having multiple courses for different skill levels, the sprint series uses the same course for all athletes.
“In terms of looking at the fastest times that were posted, sprint races are supposed to last about 12 to 15 minutes and the top times for both men and women were within that range,” said Blake. “That was gratifying — we got that right.”
Racers competed in a number of categories based on age and gender.
In the 12 and under category, first place went to Stian Langbakk with a time of 31 minutes and 24 seconds and second place was Salix Madsen with a time of 44 minutes and 10 seconds.
Fastest in the men’s open category and fastest overall was Colin Abbott who finished in 12 minutes and 16 seconds. Second place in the category went to Caelan McLean with a time of 13 minutes and 23 seconds, followed by Matthias Purdon in third with a time of 16 minutes and 14 seconds.
Dahria Beatty was the fastest in the women’s open category with a time of 14 minutes and eight seconds. In second place was Pia Blake with a time of 15 minutes and 19 seconds, and in third place was Jennifer MacKeigan with a time of 16 minutes and 30 seconds.
In the 35 and over categories, six men and five women completed the course.
Forest Pearson finished with a time of 13 minutes and 43 seconds to win the men’s category, with Brent Langbakk second and Benoit Turcotte third.
Virginia Sarrazin was the winner of the women’s category, finishing in 19 minutes and 45 seconds. Second place was Rima Khouri and third place was Lara Melnik.
In the men’s 55 and over category, Afan Jones won with a time of 18 minutes and 52 seconds. Bob Sagar was second and Craig Brooks was third.
Barbara Scheck won the women’s 55 and over category with a time of 19 minutes and 25 seconds, followed by Deb Kiemele.
Rounding out the results was the team competition. M&H finished first with a time of 27 minutes and 34 seconds, followed by the Cheetas in second and Coconut and Olives in third.
Even if a racer missed this event, Erik said it’s not too late to get involved in the series.
“There is, of course, still time to get your best four races in,” said Erik. “This was an unusual year that the weather cooperated mostly, anyway — no snow on the ground at least — so we could start a little bit early and I think people were a little caught off guard.”
The next race in the series is set for April 25 and will start downtown on Main Street near the clay cliffs.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com