Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MOTLEY CREW – The Mad Max Fury Road team won the best dressed award.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER – Tim McKenna, team Lynn cAnal Adventures, comes into the finish as the first runner in. The team won the race in a scorching 11 hours, 12 minutes and six seconds.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ON THE ROAD AGAIN – Jensina Sundberg of Juneau, with Splinter Catz, runs along the Carcross Road.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

STICK IT TO 'EM – Sullivan Clarke of 'I'd rather be playing hockey' receives congratulations at the finish.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MOONLIGHT MADNESS – A crescent moon at Carcross watched over the teams leaving the start line there.

Huge turnout for the fortieth anniversary of the Klondike Road Relay

Another Klondike Road Race is in the books.

By Morris Prokop on September 12, 2023

Another Klondike Road Race is in the books.

This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the legendary event and featured a huge turnout.

1700 participants on over 200 teams ran the race, which took place Sept. 8-9.

Teams of 10 people, eight-person youth teams, and eight and four-person walking teams.

The 10-person teams ran 10 legs from Skagway to Whitehorse on the 175 km route. All other teams ran from Carcross, a distance of about 72 km.

Solo runners ran from Carcross to Whitehorse as well, part of a total of 18 categories.

Legendary race announcer Steve Fleck called the race at the finish line at Rotary Peace Park.

The Star spoke with Sport Yukon Executive Director Tracey Bilsky Monday.

"We heard that the weather was fantastic," said Bilsky.

According to the runners, the sunrise was beautiful.

"There was barely any wind." related Bilsky. "If there was wind, it was at people's backs. It did not rain. It was actually a beautiful temperature to run. Not too hot, not too cold."

Bilsky added that the weather for the Party in the Park, which took place Saturday afternoon at Rotary Park in Whitehorse, was great.

"Last year, we had very balmy (bad) weather but this year, people stuck around, it was a very successful function."

Bilsky said the race went very smoothly.

"The race overall was probably one of the most well–run races that we've held. So our fortieth ended up being one of our best. Our checkpoint captains are very happy. Our race coordinator created a lot of efficiencies for those checkpoint managers this year, as in getting a lot of the equipment out there for them, so it's not as taxing a volunteer position. And yeah, just logistically sound.

"And people were really excited to be back racing after emerging from COVID. Everyone came back with a bang for our fortieth."

Bilsky explained what the fortieth anniversary of the race meant to the organizers.

"It's huge to us. This is an absolute beast of a race to organize. There are so many moving parts. There are so many volunteers, equipment needs; it's basically 14 different start lines along the way. It's not like a typical marathon where there's one start line and one finish line. This is what makes it so incredibly special. It's essentially Sport Yukon's contribution to community and volunteer development and active living."

Bilsky pointed out the considerable amount of people that were out running in the weeks leading up to the race.

"They certainly take getting ready seriously."

There have been some changes made to the race in the name of safety, including changing the location of Checkpoint 3 and lengthening Leg 2 as a result, in 2022.

"We had invested funding in having a safety review done on our race. That was one of the recommendations," explained Bilsky.

Of course, there are more safety changes this year.

"We actually had vests for every runner," said Bilsky. "So regardless of whether you ran in the dark or whether you ran in the daytime, you were required to be wearing a flashing vest. It was such a game changer last year that we felt it important to treat all of the legs the same. So that was a commitment that we made. Finning Canada were a very generous sponsor and donated all of those vests, which is an almost $20,000 contribution to our race."

"So many more sponsors are jumping on board. I think it's the profile of the race, the professionalism of the race. We work on it every year, and more sponsors are jumping on board. They see the value of it so really, it just keeps getting better."

Needless to say, there were some memorable stories that came out of the race this year.

"There was a couple from Alaska who got married, we believe, in Skagway and then ran the relay with all of their friends. So that was pretty special," recalled Bilsky.

"We had a group of boys who are all high–performance university athletes who were the fastest team this year. They came close to beating the fastest team on record."

(In 1990, the Juneau B team finished the race in a scorching record time of 10 hours and sixteen minutes.)

Lynn cAnal Adventures were this year's frontrunners. Even more impressively, one member was sick, so only nine athletes ran on their team, with one of them, Elliot Kadrofske, running two legs.

"They were blistering the trail," said Bilsky. "They were so fast. And then they were the last team to leave the park. They stuck around, helped us move tables, load vans. They were an impressive group of athletes."

Bilsky said some pesky bears were another memory of this year's race.

"There were people running from California and from southern Canada and someone from California had said, 'My son told me I should be bringing bear spray and I laughed.' Sure enough, there was apparently bear on the trail. We had our race marshals and our sweep vehicles managing that situation and conservation was called. A couple of grizzlies found some delicious grass by the side of the road and they just kind of kept coming back to that so our marshals had to manage that situation to keep all of our runners safe. Yukoners didn't seem too fazed but we did have some visitors from outside Yukon who were quite intrigued by that situation."

As always, playing dress–up was half the fun.

"We had a team dressed up like Mad Max," remarked Bilsky. "There were amazing costumes out there. There was a group of piglets."

Whitehorse Mayor Laura Cabott brought Tim–bits to the start line. Skagway Mayor Andrew Cremata brought Klondike Doughboy bits.

"Great to get the mayors involved at the start line," said Bilsky. "And then of course our mayor was at the finish line as well, helping out in the beer garden."

Bilsky added, "I just need to thank my staff. They're phenomenal. So many months of work go into this race. I need to thank our volunteers, cause we are totally reliant on volunteers to make this event even go. And then our sponsors as well.

"It's really a formidable event and if you're ever around on that day in the Party in the Park and you see that many people come out in the beer garden or they're at the food trucks or they're walking down Memory Lane with all the fortieth anniversary information we had and the old shirts back to 40 years ago.

"We had physiotherapists there, and there was a sauna and there were cold baths. To see the community come out and be that excited for an event like this really warms our heart and we just want to thank everyone for supporting it."

Bilsky thanked another key component of the race, the border crossings on the U.S. and Canadian sides, as well.

"It was very slick this year."

Here are the winners in the various categories:

ADULT RUNNING (Skagway to Whitehorse):

Men’s Open – Lynn cAnal Adventures (11:12:06)
Mixed Open – Not Fast But Furious (14:28:48)
Women’s Open – Super SHEroes (13:25:47)
Mixed Masters – CC Striders (15:56:10)
Women’s Masters – Winter Loooong (16:23:41)
Corporate – Horny Goats 2 (15:52:59)

ADULT RUNNING (Carcross to Whitehorse):

Mixed Open – Full Double Rainbow All Way (8:02:25)
Women’s Open – HCG Ya You Know Me (8:04:31)
Mixed Masters – Over 50 With Pre–Existing Medical Conditions (7:58:51)
Women’s Masters – Aged to Perfection 2023 (7:53:47)
Corporate – Against All Cods (7:19:57)
Men’s Solo – No One Fights Alone (6:16:46)
Women’s Solo – Maren Bradley (7:33:01)

YOUTH RUNNING (Carcross to Whitehorse):

Youth Boys – Excel–erators (4:53:05)
Youth Mixed – Drop A Gear or Disappear (4:53:03)
Youth Girls – Medicine Chest Swiftys (6:26:24)

WALKING (Carcross to Whitehorse):

4-Person Walking – Bytown Walks North (9:12:21)
8-Person Walking – TARFU (9:50:56)

Comments (3)

Up 7 Down 1

Tom Ullyett on Sep 15, 2023 at 7:21 am

What a race, what an event! The 40th was also unique because it was the first time a women’s team was the fastest Canadian team and 2nd overall. All hail the very speedy “Super SHEroes”!

Up 6 Down 3

Anie on Sep 13, 2023 at 3:32 pm

I know that space could be an issue, but it would be nice to include team members names in the list of winners. Team titles don't mean anything to the reader, and the runners deserve sone acknowledgment

Up 4 Down 0

unReal on Sep 12, 2023 at 2:38 pm

Great race!

Any additions to the Senator's Cup?

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