Yukon’s McHale wins division at Victoria Marathon

With a new baby and a new family business, Yukon's Denise McHale doesn't get to train as much as she used to. You wouldn't guess it from her speed.

With a new baby and a new family business, Yukon’s Denise McHale doesn’t get to train as much as she used to. You wouldn’t guess it from her speed.

McHale, who splits her time between Carcross and Whitehorse, was the fastest masters women runner at the 34th annual Victoria Marathon on Vancouver Island on Sunday.

McHale placed first for women 40-44 and was the third female overall in the marathon with a time of 2:56:39.

“I was very happy with my run,” said McHale. “We had a baby last year, so I was off for quite a while. I just did my first race – the Yukon River Trail Marathon – in August.

“I was happy. I hadn’t done a road marathon since 2006 and that was a personal best for me. My best before was 2:58 in Niagara Falls in 2003.”

Yukon’s top male in the marathon was Whitehorse’s Joel Macht at 3:11:24. The two-time Whitehorse Triathlon champ placed 106th overall out of 1,726 runners and 19th for men 35-39.

Yukon runners also had success in half-distance divisions.

Whitehorse’s Logan Roots finished 12th overall and was third for men 20-24.

“It was great; it felt a lot better than last year,” said Roots. “I didn’t have a near-death experience on the finish line.”

The 20-year-old finished with a personal best time of 1:12:59, 54 seconds faster than his time from last year that set the 19-and-under record. But he didn’t know that until 10 minutes after the race when he received a phone text congratulating him on his time.

“I had no watch and no idea of time throughout the entire race,” said Roots. “I never wear a watch when racing. I just play it by ear, run like a clock. Tick, tick, tick.

“You run based on how your body feels, you shouldn’t run by your watch … then you tire yourself out. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

Whitehorse’s Logan Boehmer, who competed in athletics with Roots at the Canada Summer Games in August, wasn’t far behind.

Boehmer finished 25th overall and fourth for men 20-24 with a time of 1:17:04.

Whitehorse’s Sandra Orban was another to post a top-10 finish in her division. Orban finished the half-distance in 1:33:18 to place fifth in women 45-49, eighth in the over-40 category and 41st for women overall.

Whitehorse’s Susan Bogle came seventh for women 45-49 at 1:36:54 and was 66th overall.

Whitehorse’s Nathalie Dugas ran to seventh in the women 40-44 division of the half-distance with a time of 1:37:35.

Former Yukon tennis champ Laurie Drummond of Whitehorse snagged ninth for women 55-59 in the half-distance with a time of 1:49:44.

Whitehorse’s Lois Johnston finished the half in 1:50:59 to place fifth in the women 60-64 division. Johnston won four medals in cross-country skiing at the Masters World Cup in Italy this past spring.

Whitehorse’s Steve Cash cracked the top-five in the eight-kilometre run for men 55-59. Cash finished in 35:56 and was 122nd overall for the top Yukon finish in the race.

McHale has represented Canada at numerous ultra distance races in the past.

She placed 10th at the IAU World Trail Championships in 2011 and finished eighth in the 100 Kilometre I.A.U. World Championships in 2010.

In her first race since having a baby last year, McHale won the Yukon River Trail Marathon for open women in August and was on winning women’s team at the Klondike Trail of ‘98 Road Relay in September.

“With a new baby and a new business, my training was a little different this time,” said McHale. “But I guess it worked out.”

Kenya’s Lamech Mokono set a new Victoria Marathon record of 2:13:42 on Sunday.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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